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Stories of old families 



William Chambers 




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3 it,zed by GoOgle 



3 it,zed by GoOgle 



STORIES 



OF 



OLD FAMILIES 



M*7 

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3 it,zed by GoOgle 



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STORIES of OLD FAMILIES 



W. CHAMBERS, LL.D. 




V 



w. 8c r. Chambers, 

EDINBURGH AND LONDON. 

1878. 



gitized by G00gk 



3 it,zed by GoOgle 



STORIES 



OLD FAMILIES 



By W. CHAMBERS, LL.D. 



W. & R. CHAMBERS 

EDINBURGH AND LONDON 

1878 

T 



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THE NEY'lkK 

334923B 

A ~ '■••:. Lf-:."OX AND 
T A Ll\. . v'i-i MOTIONS 



Edinburgh ! 
Printed by W. & R. Chambers. 



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CONTENTS. 



PAGE 

STORY OF THE SETONS 7 

STORY OF LADY JEAN GORDON 21 

STORY OF THE COUNTESS OF NITHSDALE 35 

STORY OF LADY GRISELL BAILLIE 49 

STORY OF GRISELL COCHRANE Co 

STORY OF THE KEITHS 71 

STORY OF LADY GRANGE 81 

STORY OF LADY JANE DOUGLAS 95 

STORY OF WEDDERBURN no 

-STQRY OF ERSKINE 121 

STORY OF SUSANNAH, COUNTESS OF 

EGLINTOUN. 132 

STORY OF LADY FORBES 150 

STORY OF KITTY, DUCHESS OF QUEENSBERRY...161 

STORY OF THE DALRYMPLES 177 

STORY OF THE CECILS 192 



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€ CONTENTS. 

PAGB 

STORY OF THE MARQUIS OF MONTROSE 206 

THE BUCCLEUCH FAMILY. 223 

THE ARGYLL FAMILY 241 

THE BARONESS BURDETT-COUTTS ..256 

THE WALPOLJES........-:. ....; « 268 

THE BEDFORD FAMILY. 287 

CONCLUDING SKETCHES 299 



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STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 



STORY OF THE SETONS. 

1 A 'S- young Roland Grsemtf, guided by his conductor, 
&\r Adahi Woodcock* according to Scott's description 
fa! v J%* Abbot* was wending his way down the IJigh 
Street of Edinburgh, there suddenly occurred one of 
those deadly brawls incidental to the troubled reiga of 
Mary Queen of) Scots.: Two noblemen of equal rank, 
$n& bppoote parties, a Seton and a Leslie, met face to 
feed ; [Neither wou'ld give way to right or left, and a 
fight with drawn swords was the consequence. Roland 
Graeme, as an impetuous youth, takes part with Seton, 
who seenied to have the chance of being worsted. 
Shouting like the rest, 'A Seton, a Seton! Set on, Set 
lG^l >/ lie ; thrast himself forward into the throng, and was 
happily the means of saving Lord Seton from serious 
bodily harm until the affray was calmed by magisterial 
'interference. Going farther down the street, when the 
combat k over, Roland catches sight of the damsel, 



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3 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

Catherine Seton, whom he had previously seen, and in 
following her, reaches the town residence of Lord Seton, 
forming one of the gloomy quadrangles diverging from 
the ancient thoroughfare, the site of which is now occu- 
pied by Whiteford House. 

We need not pursue the fiction, which, like all that 
has been written by Sir Walter, is founded not on the 
miserable rack of invention, as is now the case with 
ordinary novels, but on an intimate knowledge of 
national and family history, as well as on an acquaint- 
ance with human nature. He wished to introduce us 
to George, seventh Lord Seton, who made a distin- 
guished figure in the reign of Queen Mary, and was 
noted as staunchly loyal to that unfortunate princess. 
Officially, Lord Seton was connected with the court. 
He occupied the position of grand-master of the house- 
hold, in which capacity he had a picture painted of 
himself, with two lines in Latin, signifying, ' Patient in 
Adversity, Benevolent in Prosperity, , with the bold 
family motto, 'Hazard zet Fordward.' We are told 
that he declined to be promoted to an earldom, which 
was offered to him by Queen Mary. On refusing this 
dignity, the queen, who was an accomplished scholar, 
wrote certain lines in Latin and in French, which have 
thus been rendered in English : 

Earl, duke, or king, be thou that list to be ; 
Seton, thy lordship is enough for me. 

The ' Catherine ' Seton in the romance of Sir Walter 
is represented to have been an honorary attendant on 
Queen Mary, and to have followed her royal mistress 
to the islet prison in Lochleven. History and legend 
sanction the supposition. When Queen Mary, as a 



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STORY OF THE SETONS. 9 

child, was taken to France, she was accompanied by 
four girls, who acted as playmates, daughters of Scottish 
noblemen, all of the same age, and the same Christian 
name. They were usually styled 'the Four Maries.* 
Their surnames were Livingston, Fleming, Seton, and 
BeatOun. On returning to Scotland, and holding court 
at Holyrood, the queen still had her four 'Maries,' 
though with some change in person and even in name. 
For Livingston and Fleming were substituted Car- 
michael and Hamilton. That such a change had taken 
place among these young damsels, is sadly evident from 
the tragical ballad of Marie Hamilton, who, for the 
crime of infanticide, was about ta suffer an ignominious 
death. The poor girl pathetically sings : 

Yestreen, the Queen had four Maries ; 

This nicht she '11 hae but three ; 
There was Marie Seton and Marie Beatoun, 

And Marie Carmichael and me. 

The family of Seton, so made known to us, can be 
traced through a distinguished ancestry for more than 
seven hundred years. In the opinion of the late Mr 
John Riddell, the eminent peerage lawyer, the family, on 
account of its innumerable high connections and ramifi- 
cations, may be considered the noblest in North Britain. 
^Philip de Setune,' third of the family on record, had a 
royal grant of lands in East and West Lothian in 1169, 
from which time the name, under the form of Seatoun, 
Seyton, Setton, or Seton, constantly occurs in the history 
of memorable events, and always in connection with acts 
of fidelity to the reigning monarch. On the family estate 
of Winchburgh arose their castle of Niddry, a massive 
feudal peel, now dismantled ; being the house in which 



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tio STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

Queen Mary was indebted for a night's lodging oii her 
escape from Lochleven. Another extensive property 
granted to the family in the twelfth century was that of 
Seton and Wintouri in East Lothian, on which were built 
Seton Palace and Wintoun House, which became their 
principal mansions, and by their residence here they are 
^>est remembered. The family, from an early date, was 
noted for the tallness of its members; the men being 
frequently above *ix feet in height, and the women also 
of lofty stature. A grand-looking race they must have 
been, in the old chivalric times, in their war panoply, 
but not more remarkable for tallness than their proud 
and dignified bearing. 'Tall and proud, like the 
Setons,' was at pne time a proverbial saying in ScQtlancL 
Till this day the Setons are noted for their stature. 
The family of Colonel Seton (descended from the fifth 
Baron of Cariston), who commanded the 88th Regiment 
at Badajos and Salamanca, and who was himself a tall 
man, are all considerably above the average height — his 
eldest son being six feet two inches, ivhile the average 
height of five of his sons is nearly six feet four inches.* 
With the war-cry of Set on, Set on ! and a sense of 
protection from St Bennet, the patron saint of the 
family, the Setons in old times rushed headlong like 
a troop of giants on the enemy, carrying all before 
them. 

. In Barbour's History of Brtae, and Blind Harry's 
metrical History of Wallace, we hear of one of these 
gigantic soldiers, Sir Christell or Christopher Seton^ 
Jwho was the companion-h>arms of Wallace and Bruce 
in the war of Scottish Independence. Sit Christell 

* See Chambers's JPopular Rhyme* of Scotland (1870), p. 401. 



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STORY OF THE SETONS. ti 

gallantly rescued King Robert Bruce at Methven, and 
afterwards married the king's sister, Christian Bruce. 
Sir ChristelV as we learn, wielded a two-handed sword, 
measuring four feet nine inches in entire length, and 
weighing seven and a half pounds. It still exists in the 
possession of George Seton, Esq., representative of the 
Setons of Cariston, whom we presume to be about the 
tallest of that very tall family.* With a sweep of this 
formidable weapon, Sir Christell is said to have done 
immense execution* His prowess was on one occasion 
unavailing as regards his personal security. He was 
taken prisoner by the English at Dumfries, and put to 
death, for adherence to the cause of Bruce, his brother- 
in-law, who erected a chapel to his memory. The patrio- 
tism of Sir Christell was emulated by his grandson, 
Sir Alexander Seton, who, in 1333, heroically held out 
the town of Berwkk-on-Tweed against the forces of 
Edward III. It is related mat he stood on the ram- 
parts and witnessed the death of his two sons, rather 
than yield that < key ' of his country to the English. 
When things settled down in Scotland under a native 

* The first of the Setons of Cariston was John, only brother of 
•George, seventh Lord Seton, Queen Mary's faithful adherent; 
their Aalf-abster being Mary Seton, the maid of honour, who was 
daughter of George, sixth Lord Seton, by his second wife. Mary 
. Seton died unmarried at Rheims, and her heir-of-line is the present 
representative of the family of Cariston, as lineal descendant of her 
half-brother John. Since the beginning of the fifteenth century, 
George has been the prevailing Christian name in the Seton family, 
and was probably adopted in consequence of the union between 
John, second Lord Seton, and the daughter of George, tenth Earl 
of Dunbar and March, one of the most powerful nobles in Scotland. 
•The son of the present representative of the Cariston branch is the 
fifteenth George in nearly direct lineal descent. 



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12 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

dynasty, the family was raised to the peerage in the 
person of William Seton, who was created Lord Seton 
towards the end of the fourteenth century. From this 
time, the family branches out wonderfully. From the 
first Lord Seton, there sprang the Earls of Huntly, 
Aboyne, Sutherland, Eglintoun, and the Dukes of 
Gordon ; the ancestor of each of these Houses being a 
Seton, but changing his surname by marriage.* Nume- 
rous baronetcies are traceable to the Setons, including 
those of the families of Pitmedden, Abercorn, and 
Garleton, of which the first has made its mark in our 
legal as well as our military annals. The heroic con- 
duct of Colonel Seton of the 74th Highlanders — a cadet 
of the Pitmedden branch — at the loss of the Birkenhead 
in 1852, will not soon be forgotten. 

We have not space to record the incidents worthy of 
note in which this remarkable family historically figured. 
One circumstance, however, cannot be passed over. 
The disastrous field of Flodden (1513) proved fatal to 
the Lord Seton of the day. He left a widow, Janet, 
Lady Seton, a daughter of the Earl of Bothwell. She 
survived him for a period of nearly half a century, and 
, was celebrated for her exalted and matronly conduct, 
which drew around her, at her residence at the Sciennes, 
in the vicinity of Edinburgh, many of the female 
members of her own and other noble families. This 
aged lady, whose husband perished at Flodden, must 

* Catherine Seton, sister of George, second Lord Seton, married 
Sir Alan Stewart of Darnley, ancestor of the Earls of Lennox ; 
while his son George, third Lord Seton, was the husband of 
Lady Margaret Stewart, daughter and heiress of John, Earl of 
Buchan, and Constable of France, son of the Regent Albany, and 
grandson of Robert II. 



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STORY OF THE SETONS. 15 

have lived to about the time when Mary arrived from 
France to hold court at Holyrood. 

George, seventh Lord Seton, whose history we began 
with, attended Queen Mary to the battf e of Langside 
(1568); there he did his best, and when all was lost, 
he retired to Flanders, where he lived for two years in 
exile, during which he was reduced to the necessity of 
driving a wagon for subsistence. Then came better 
times. He returned to Scotland, and resuming his 
paternal property, had himself painted in his wagoner's 
dress, in the act of driving a wagon with four horses, 
on the north end of a stately gallery in his mansion at 
Seton. A portrait of his lordship in the midst of his 
family is mentioned by Sir Walter Scott as being to 
be seen in the fishing villa of Lord Somerville, near 
Melrose. By James VI. his eldest son was created 
Earl of Wintoun, while his fourth son, Alexander, the 
munificent builder of Fyvie and Pinkie, became Earl 
of Dunfermline, and Chancellor fcf Scotland. James, 
fourth and last Earl of Dunfermline, grandson of the 
chancellor, forfeited his title in 1690 for his participa- 
tion in the battle of Killiecrankie. Tytler concludes 
his History of Scotland with a touching account of 
James VI. resting in the immediate neighbourhood of 
Seton Palace, on his way to take possession of the 
English crown in 1603, while the funeral of the first 
Earl, of Wintoun was passing by. A younger son of 
the third Earl of Wintoun was created Viscount King- 
ston by Charles IL, in 1650; and his son James, 
third Viscount, was attainted like his chief, in 17 15, on 
account of his adherence to the Stuarts. A quaint and 
plucky letter from the first Viscount Kingston, while 
gallantly defending Tantallon Castle in February 1651, 



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J4 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

will be found in the second volume of the interesting 
Correspondence of the . Earls of Ancram and Lothian, 
recently printed by the Marquis of Lothian. The 
present heirof-line of the Kingston branch is Mr Hay 
of Dunse Castle. During the Commonwealth, the Setpn 
family suffered fines and depressions; but again there 
was a revival, and matters were going on prosperously, 
when all at once' everything was ruined— titles and 
estates blown to the winds— by the political escapade 
of the fifth Earl of Wintoun. 

In this remarkable personage, the story of the Setons 
invokes a special interest George, fifth Earl of Win- 
toun, possessed excellent abilities, but from his early 
years he displayed strange eccentricities of character. 
Some family misunderstandings caused him to leave 
home while a mere youth, and to spend several years 
in France, where he hired himself as bellows-blower in 
the workshop of a blacksmith. It was a queer whim ; 
but suqh oddities occur in the aristocracy. A late Earl 
of Aberdeen, it will be recollected, sank his high rank 
and princely fortune, and became an obscure and toil- 
ing sailor in a merchant-vessel, in which position he 
was unhappily drowned. Young Seton was of this sort 
His foible was a love of bellows-blowing, in which he 
excelled. It is a poor art, but requires tact, to blow 
slowly, firmly, and with regularity. With this over- 
powering fancy, the young nobleman did not disdain 
to take a hand at the hammer and file, and occasion- 
ally wielding these implements, under the instructions 
of the blacksmith, he worked with might and main, 
as if his means of existence depended on his physical 
exertions. We suspect that eccentricities of this kind 
may sometimes arise from the pleasure of baffling the 



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STORY OF THE SETONS. - if. 

researches of perplexed, and almost heart-broken rela- 
tions. The family at home, in their palace at Seton, 
mourned over the loss of George, and hearing nothing 
of him, gave him up as lost, vanished from the face of 
the earth. On the death of his father, the next heir, 
taking for granted that the young earl was dead, was 
proceeding to take possession of the inheritance, when' 
he suddenly appeared, claimed, and made good his 
rights. It was afterwards ascertained that a confiden- 
tial servant in the family kept him acquainted with 
what was taking place, and had sent him intelligence of 
his fa.ther's death. 

The Seton family had always been noted for their 
loyalty, and their attachment to the old church* and 
though George, the fifth earl, had renounced the 
Romish faith, he inclined firmly to the political lean- 
ings of his ancestors. He was living peacefully at 
Seton Palace when the rebellion of 17 15 broke out 
Probably, he would in any circumstances have taken 
part in the insurrection, but his doing so was hastened 
if not absolutely caused, by a body of the Lothian 
militia, who forcibly entered and rifled his house, as 
alleged through private pique and revenge. The most 
sacred places, as he said, did not escape their fury and 
resentment They broke into his chapel, defaced the 
monuments of his ancestors, desecrated their sepulchres, 
tore out the remains of the bodies, and treated them 
in a barbarous manner. This unprovoked brutality, 
which met with no check from the authorities, deter- 
mined the earl to throw himself into the cause of 
the insurgents. It was from the first a hopeless 
adventure, and badly carried out The Earl of Wintoun 
and other lords surrendered themselves as prisoners at 



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16 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

Preston, and were carried to London for trial on a 
charge of high treason. 

The trial of the Earl of Wintoun took place at the 
bar .of the House of Lords, and, with tedious formalities, 
lasted from the 15 th to the 19th March 17 16. His 
lordship pleaded not guilty, and in his defence urged 
certain extenuating circumstances, which were deemed 
unavailing. The principal witness against him was the 
Rev. Robert Patten, who, as a chaplain, had taken part 
in the insurrection, and lived to write its history. At 
the trial of the Earl of Wintoun, he cut a poor figure as 
king's evidence. It was clear from what he stated, that 
although the earl only took what might be called a mild 
part in the rebellion, the fact of being present with a 
drawn sword on several occasions when the * Pretender ' 
was proclaimed, was sufficient to prove his complicity 
in the affair. Being found guilty, he was condemned 
to return to the Tower, and thence taken to the place 
of execution, to be hanged, beheaded, and quartered. 
He was accordingly removed to an apartment in the 
Tower, with the prospect of having only a short time 
to live. The period of his confinement, however limited, 
was not spent in idleness. How, through the ingenuity 
of his wife, the Earl of Nithsdale was smuggled out of 
the Tower on the night previous to the morning assigned 
for his execution, will shortly be related in these 
pages. The Earl of Wintoun was equally fortunate in 
escaping his doom ; it was not, however, through female 
intervention, but by the mechanical skill which he had 
' acquired while working as a blacksmith in France. 
Being secretly furnished with files and other instruments 
by a trusty servant, he sawed through the iron bars of 
his window, and dropping to the ground, managed to 



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STORY OF THE SETONS. 17 

make his escape to the continent His titles, so far as 
concerned himself, and any issue he might have, were 
attainted, his estates were forfeited to the crown, and 
there was practically an end of the ancient House of 
Seton. The earl died at Rome, December 19, 1749. 

According to usual accounts, the earl had never been 
married, and the family in the direct line was extinct 
An attempt was made to set aside the accepted belief 
on this point within our recollection. A young man 
named George Seton, who followed the profession of a 
saddler, at Bellingham, in the county of Northumber- 
land, arrived in Edinburgh in 1825, and forthwith pro- 
ceeded to have himself served heir-of-line to the noble 
family of Seton. At that time, the serving of heirs 
before bailies was rather a loose process, and led to 
some strange assumptions of dignity. George Seton, the 
saddler from Bellingham, succeeded in a process of this 
nature before the bailies of Canongate. The evidence 
he appears to have relied on was a traditional belief 
that George, fifth Earl of Wintoun, had been married, 
about the year 17 10, to Margaret M'Klear, daughter of 
a physician in Edinburgh. Charles Seton, a son of this 
pair, was said to have been born in Northumberland ; 
as evidence of which fact there was produced ' a certifi- 
cate by Mr Thomas Gordon, minister at Bellingham, of 
the birth of Charles Seton, dated nth June 1711/ The 
birth of Charles Seton was undeniable, but no proper 
proof was advanced that he was the son of the attainted 
Earl of Wintoun. Growing up, he resided as a labourer 
at Dunterly, in the parish of Bellingham, and George, 
the claimant in question, was his lawful grandson. 

From the evidence of witnesses, there were probable 
grounds for believing that George Seton was the great- 



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18 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

grandson of the unfortunate earl ; but the want of a 
certificate of the marriage with Margaret M'Klear settled 
the invalidity of the claim ; and it was reduced by the 
Court of Session. Had it been otherwise, we should 
have had to record a narrative as interesting as anything 
that has been related in the Romance of the Peerage. 
For some time after the forfeiture, the representation of 
the family continued in the knightly branch of Garleton, 
which ultimately became extinct in the male line. The 
present lineal representative of the baronets of Garleton 
^ is Mrs Mary Seton or Broadbent, formerly a milliner in 
London, who was acknowledged by Mr Riddell to be 
heir-of-line of the great House of Seton. Such are the 
mutations in family history. In 1840, the late Earl of 
Eglintoun, who deduced his descent from Robert, first 
Earl of Wintoun, was served heir-male general, and heir- 
male of provision to George, the fourth Earl of Wintoun, 
father of the attainted peer; and in 1859 he was created 
Earl of Wintoun in the peerage of the United Kingdom. 
The Setons were remarkable for their fine taste in 
architecture and gardening, of which they left numerous 
memorials, including Niddry, Fyvie, and Pinkie, already 
referred to. Their old baronial casde of Wintoun, built 
chiefly for defence in troublous times, was replaced in 
the early part of the seventeenth century by a mansion 
in the Elizabethan style, erected from designs by Inigo 
Jones, as a jointure-house for Lady Wintoun. This 
handsome structure, situated near Pencaitland in East 
Lothian, still exists, but disfigured by modern and taste- 
less additions. Seton Palace, also in East Lothian, 
was the ordinary residence of the family. It occupied a 
grand position on the coast of the Firth of Forth, and 
within a mile eastward of the field whereon was fought 



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STORY OF THE SETONS. \<? 

the battle of Prestonpans. The Palace of Seton — and 
it deserved to be called so — was considered the* most 
magnificent and elegantly furnished house in Scotland ; — 
its adornment of towers, pinnacles, and buttresses, its 
splendid apartments and its beautiful surroundings, all 
raising an emotion of regret that so much to make'N 
life pass agreeably had been sacrificed needlessly and / 
thanklessly in the cause of (latterly) the most worthless 
of dynasties. 

There is no end of traditions regarding the style that 
had been kept up, at Seton Palace. It had been visited 
in royal progresses by Queen Mary, and she, had also 
been entertained here by Lord Seton in 1567, on which 
occasion the queen and Bothwell amused themselves 
shooting at the butts, and won a match against Seton 
and Huntly {see Vignette Frontispiece). Seton Palace 
had also been visited by James VI., and by his son 
Charles I. An account of the masques and cere- -' 
monies on these occasions would fill a volume. But, 
besides the splendour of the palace, there was the 
solemn grandeur of Seton Chapel, situated in the 
immediate neighbourhood. All are things of the past ! 
That wonderfully fine ecclesiastical structure is now a 
cheerless ruin; and by an act of Vandalism, the. 
palace, with its magnificent galleries, was swept away n 
towards the end of last century, by a person who,^ 
for a short time, was possessor of the property. In 
its place was erected a mansion of that plain meaning- 1 ° 
less character that would answer for a boarding-house or I 
penitentiary. Seton House — the term ' Palace ' being 
judiciously dropped — is now the property of the Earl _ 
of Wemyss. Damaged by the odious taste that pre-( 
dominated in the Georgian era, there is even now, 



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so STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES 

something to command respect in the environs. The 
A gardens are still celebrated for the finest and earliest 
fruits of the season, and the stately elms in the park 
remind us that the works of Nature outlive the greatest 
efforts of genius. 

Among the legends that float round this interesting 
domain, there is one relative to George, fifth Earl of 
Wintoun. Prior to departing on his ill-fated expedition, 
he is said to have buried a large quantity of plate and 
other valuables, with the assistance of a blacksmith in 
the neighbourhood, in whose fidelity he placed reliance. 
The recollection of this buried treasure haunted him in 
his weary exile on the continent, and he contrived to 
return to Scotland, in the hope of recovering what he 
had so carefully deposited. The search was fruitless, 
and he fled in despair. It was afterwards observed that 
the family of the blacksmith became opulent farmers in 
East Lothian. 



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STORY OF LADY JEAN GORDON. 



T N telling the ' Story of the Setons/ it has been men- 
-*• tioned that a younger son of this ancient family 

adopted by marriage the surname of Gordon, and became 

progenitor of the dukesjsdth that title. The person in 
question was Alexanjier. Seton, who flourished at the 
beginning of the fifteenth century, and speedily rose to 
eminence. The Gordons originally belonged to the~7— - 
-ssouth of Scotland. The marriage of Alexander Seton \ 
with the heiress of the family led to a migration north-/ / 
wards. Under the surname of Seton-Gordon, Alexander \ 
got a grant of Strathbogie and other lands on the border 
of the Highlands, and his eldest son, also called Alex- 
ander, was created Earl of Huntly, with limitation to 
his heirs-male by his third wife. History speaks of the 
earl as an ambitious and rather Jroublesome person, 
often at feud, and, as a laird, not very scrupulous in 
' brizzing yont/ which in plain English signifies pressing 
beyond the boundaries of your property, and forcibly 
taking possession of the lands of your neighbours — an 
inexpensive process of enlarging estates, not at all 
uncommon in old times. The Highland border was 
eminently adapted for carrying out such a cheap process 



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-22 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

of acquisition; for there were various broken clans — 
tribes who, having lost their chief, had nobody to guide 
or protect them, and so were easily dealt with, and 
could, in short, be robbed with impunity. It may even 
have happened, that the poor people who were treated in 
this unceremonious fashion were glad to be taken pos- 
session of by some masterful neighbour, in order to be 
protected from violence, and reinstated as members of a 
well-recognised clan. 

With these facilities, the first Earl of Huntly c brizzed 
yont' to some purpose. Enlarging his domains, he 
became so potent as to be appointed lieutenant-general 
of the kingdom ; while in testimony of his power, which 
few dared to challenge, he was familiarly spoken of as 
the 'Cock of the North.' As another step in family 
aggrandisement, George, second Earl , of Huntly, was 
married, in 1460, to Joanna, third daughter of that 
accomplished monarch, James L, king of Scots. There 
was a further expansion in the family fortune by the 
marriage of the second son of George with Elizabeth, 
the sister and sole inheritrix of the ninth Earl of Suther- 
land, whereby the surname of Gordon was introduced^ 
into that noble family (about 15 12). In his stronghold, 
the castle of Strathbogie, the Earl of Huntly's style 
of living was on a scale even beyond that of royalty. 
Passing on to the reign of Queen Mary, George, fourth 
Earl of Huntly, was so powerful and unscrupulous as to 
be a terror to the state. Enriched at the Reformation 
by the plunder of the cathedral church of Aberdeen, 
and affecting to be ill-used in relation to some of his 
acquisitions, he had the audacity to put himself at 
the head of a force, with a view to seize the queen 
and her half-brother, the Earl of Murray, when on a 



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STOR Y OF LAD Y JEAN GORDON. 23 

royal progress in the north in 1562. In this instance, 
he went a step too far. A battle took place at Cor- 
richie, some fifteen or sixteen miles from Aberdeen, and 
it was fatal to Huntiy. He was killed, and his titles 
and estates were forfeited ; while Sir John Gordon, his 
fourth son, was convicted of treason and beheaded. 
It gives one a curious idea of the times to know that, 
at the instance of Murray, the queen attended the 
public execution of the unhappy youth, notwithstanding 
that he had been a favourite at court, and humoured 
with the notion that he might aspire to be Mary's 
husband. 

Here was seemingly an end to the Huntiy family, 
so far as social position was concerned. George, the , 
representative of the ruined House, was a wandering 
fugitive. By a strange turn in the wheel of fortune, he 
was restored to the honours of his family, and partially 
to the possession of the forfeited estates. The reasons 
for this change in affairs had something to do with 
the insecure position into which Mary was brought 
in relation to her more powerful subjects. She had 
married Darnley in July 1565, and was at feud with 
Murray and other discontented noblemen. Friends 
required to be raised up, and in desperation, Huntiy 
was brought into requisition. 

Lady Jean Gordon, who was destined to take an 
important part in the history of the period, now comes 
upon the scene. She was daughter of George, the 
fourth earl, and sister of the restored Huntiy. Being 
only twenty-one years of age, she could be turned to 
advantage by marrying the Earl of Bothwell, in whom, 
from his dash and fearlessness, the queen had vivid 
expectations of support. Lady Jean had no particular 



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24 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

objection to the alliance ; but there was a far-off family 
connection, and, according to the customary usage, 
it would be necessary to procure a dispensation from 
the pope to allow the marriage to be validly performed. 
Why any such dispensation should have been thought 
of, is by no means intelligible. By the overturn at 
the Reformation settlement, the canon law and the 
old ecclesiastical system had been abolished. The 
business of the church courts had been transferred 
to lay commissaries, by whose successors, until this 
day, the forms of process connected with wills and 
probates are administered. Yet, from an inveteracy 
of feeling, and to save any chance of future challenge — 
for no one could tell how things might drift back to the 
old arrangements — it was customary, in cases of this 
kind, still to rely on the good offices of the dispossessed 
archbishops, and the assent of their superior the pope. 

Right or wrong — absurd as it now seems to be — the 
dispensation was procured from the pope, through the 
agency of his legate, Archbishop John Hamilton of St 
Andrews, for the marriage of Lady Jean Gordon with 
Bothwell. The alliance accordingly took place; and 
we should never have heard more about it, but for the 
marriage of Mary with Darnley. History informs us 
of that disastrous connection. Within the short space r 
of two years, Rizzio was assassinated, Mary's son, 
James, was born, Darnley was murdered, and Mary 
was carried off and married by his murderer, Bothwell 
— a rapid succession of momentous events. What, 
however, of Lady Jean Gordon? How did Bothwell 
contrive to shake himself clear of her, so as to marry 
another? This was effected by a trick, regarding which, 
after an interval of three hundred years, we have only 



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STOR Y OF LAD Y JEAN GORDON. 25 

now got at the truth. We may go back a little in the 
narrative. 

Bothwell, according to all testimony, was an unprin- 
cipled spendthrift and scoundrel, and Mary's infatuated — — 
attachment to him seems to be one of the oddest things 
we read of out of the realms of romance. That she 
knew he had taken the chief part in ridding her of 
Darnley, is matter of historical dispute. Huntly, how- 
ever, was largely concerned in the transaction. For the 
selfish reason of getting the entire family property 
restored, he became a participator in the murder. What 
throws a certain grotesque character over the horrible 
affair is, that the desolate building at the Kirk of Field 
in which Darnley was blown up, was pompously adorned 
with hangings, carpets, and other trappings, the plunder 
of the cathedral of Aberdeen, which had been carried 
off from the castle of Strathbogie after the fall of the 
Huntlies. All this splendid upholstery was blown into -\ 
the air, at two o'clock in the morning of the iothj 
February 1567 — the people of Edinburgh being roused 
from their slumbers by the terrific crash. 

Whether Darnley was killed by the explosion or _ 
previously murdered, is not quite clear. His body, 
bearing marks of violence, was found under a tree in 
the adjoining garden. The house in which he lodged 
was inside and close to the old city wall, near the 
north corner of .the present South Bridge Street and 
Drummond Street. A full account of the shocking 
event — with; collateral circumstances, including the 
bringing of bags of gunpowder on horseback from 
Holyrood, and the buying of 'six halfpenny candles 
from Geordie Burns's wife in the Cowgate,' to give light 
during the operations — will be found in Burton's History 



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26 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

of Scotland, second edition, vol iv. : a work to be 
commended for its copious details, accuracy, and 
erudition. 

Huntly was not unrewarded for his share in this 
dreadful business. He was put in possession of a large 
portion of the old domains of his family. In some 
sense, this was an act of gratitude for favours to come. 
It was expected that the earl would win over his sister, 
-Lady Jean, to the scheme of a divorce from Bothwell. 

The exact nature of Bothwell's propinquity to the 
Huntly family is nowhere satisfactorily explained. 
According to one authority, Lady Margaret Gordon, 
daughter of George, second Earl of Huntly, became by 
marriage Countess of Bothwell, and from her, in regular 
succession by three removes, was descended James 
Hepburn, fourth Earl of Bothwell. This, however, does 
not agree with the account given in the generally 
accurate Peerage of Sir Robert Douglas. All we can 
really understand is, Chat Bothwell was related to the 
Huntly family by several removes — a degree of con- 
sanguinity which would, in the present day, be no 
barrier to intermarriage. Bothwell was born about the 
year 1535, and succeeded his father in 1556. Though 
turbulent and profligate in his habits, and plain, if 
not repulsive in features, he artfully managed to have 
honours heaped upon him, as if morally and physically 
he had been a paragon of excellence. He was created 
Lord High Admiral of Scotland, sole Warden of the 
Scottish Marches, Governor of the castles of Dunbar 
and Edinburgh, and received extensive grants of lands 
in East Lothian and elsewhere. His marriage with 
Lady Jean Gordon gave him another lift onwards, for 
her ancestor, George, second Earl of Huntly, as has 



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STORY OF LADY JEAN GORDON. 27 

been told, married a daughter of James I. ; and thus by 
birth and alliance he claimed connection with the royal 
family. As regards the dispensation for his marriage 
with Lady Jean, it has been long a subject of grave 
dispute. Some historians have averred that there was 
no such dispensation; some have had doubts on the 
point; while others, though on obscure grounds, have 
maintained that the dispensation was validly executed.^ ^ 
A mysterious question is now happily solved. 

Doubts are now at an end. Dr John Stuart, Secretary 
of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, while engaged \ 
in examining documents in the charter-room at Dun- 
robin, for the Historical Manuscripts Commission, had \ 
the good-fortune to bring to light the original Dispensa- / 
tion for the marriage of James, Earl of Bothwell, with ] 
Lady Jean Gordon. In the volume published under the ' ^^ 
title of A Lost Chapter in the History of Mary Queen of **^^ 
Scots Recovered, Dr Stuart presents a fac-simile of the 
dispensation. It is an instrument in Latin, issued by 
Archbishop John Hamilton of St Andrews, as legate of ^__ 
the Holy See, and is dated February 17, 1566. In the 
same volume is given a copy of the contract of the 
marriage. Among the parties who by their signatures 
assent to the alliance, are the queen, who signs as ' 

'Marie R.;' and Dame Elizabeth Keith, Countess of^ 1 , Jr 

Huntly. This honourable lady was so illiterate as not \ p~ 
to be able to sign her name — a very common imperfec- 
tion among ladies of rank in the sixteenth and seven- ) 
teenth centuries. To her ladyship's signature are \ 
appended the words : * With my hand led on the pen 
be the lorde bischope of galloway.' Another of the 
signatures is that of George Lord Seton, who was the 
friend and counsellor of Queen Mary, and who sacrificed 



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28 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

everything in her cause. The great interest of the 
queen in the affair is attested by her gift of a wedding- 
dress to the bride, consisting of ' cloth of silver, lined 
with taffeta.' She also bequeathed to her a 'coiff, 
garnished with rubies, pearls, and garnets.' 

The marriage of Bothwell with Lady Jean took place 
in the Canongate Church on the 24th February 1 566.-A — 
Now commences the second act in the drama. Both- 
well, after the murder of Darnley, February 10, 1567, 
wished to have Mary for a wife; but, to effect this 
object, means must be found to dissolve his marriage 
with Lady Jean. This lady had been so grossly mal- 
treated, that there was abundant cause for procuring a 
divorce ; but another reason, likely to be more effectual, 
was resorted to. It was no less than that the marriage 
betwixt Lady Jean and Bothwell had been effected 
without a dispensation, and was invalid, according to 
the canon law; that, legally, there had been no 
marriage at all. How Lady Jean, with the instrument 
of dispensation in her possession, should have lent her- 
self to this deception, is only explicable by two facts — 
her desire to be rid of Bothwell, and a wish to conciliate 
the queen, with a view to promote the interests of her 
brother, the Earl of Huntly. But still more extraor- 
dinary is the behaviour of Archbishop John Hamilton. 
He had granted the dispensation on the 17th February 
1566. Bothweirs application to him for a declaration 
of nullity of the marriage, on the ground that there had 
been no dispensation, was initiated on the 17 th April 
1567 ; and on the 7th of May following, the archbishop 
pronounced his sentence, ' that the marriage was radi- 
cally null, in respect that the parties were related to 
each other within the forbidden degrees of consanguinity, 



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STOR Y OF LAD Y JEAN GORDON. 29 

and consequently were debarred from lawful marriage \ 
without a previous dispensation having been obtained.' 
Historical literature, we imagine, can scarcely produce J 
/ a more scandalous instance of conniving with fraud. \\^--^ 
//'For John Hamilton, titular Archbishop of St Andrews, \) ~ 
j( there can be no^excuse. He must henceforth be stig- \ \ 1 v^ 
matised as a wilful perverter of justice and time-server, 1 1 ) 
a disgrace to his profession. But for political or selfish I 
«nds, there was duplicity throughout Lady Jean's \ 
brother, the Earl of Huntly, was a consenting party to / 
the annulling of the marriage, and thereafter he took a / 
prominent part in a meeting of nobles to recommend) 
Bothwell as a suitable husband for Mary. 

While the matter of the divorce was in hand, the 
queen, April 21, 1567, went to Stirling to visit her infant \ 
son. On her return, she was intercepted by Bothwell, j"~~~ 
with a body of horse, on the way to Edinburgh, and \ 
carried by him to the castle of Dunbar, where she was 
detained upwards of a week. Instead of taking offence 
at this outrage, Mary, on the score of his eminent 
services to the state, gave a step in the peerage to 
Bothwell, by creating him Duke of Orkney. Her ill- f 



H 



starred marriage with this worthless personage took place,' 
on May 15, 1567, little more than three months after 
the murder of Darnley. What ensues belongs to his- 
tory. Shocked with Mary's conduct, the people rose 
in insurrection. With Bothwell, she first sought refuge 
in Borthwick Castle. That being an insecure strong- 
hold, they retreated to the castle of Dunbar. Thence, 
Mary adjourned to Seton Palace, while Bothwell tried 
to raise a defensive force. In the shelter of this grand 
old mansion, as referred to in the ' Story of the 
Setons,' one of the amusements provided for the queen 



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3<> 



STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES 



jcp 



f 



was 'shooting arrows at the butts.' Then came the 
termination of her regal career. At Carberry Hill, on 
June 17, she surrendered herself to a confederated force, 
and, 'with tears and kisses/ bade farewell to her evil 
genius, Bothwell. She never saw him more. Their 
relationship as husband and wife lasted only a month 
and two days — a troubled honeymoon, ending in despair 
and anguish. We need not follow her to her island 
prison, her flight to England, the cruel treatment she 
/ experienced from Queen Elizabeth, and the tragical 
conclusion of her life at Fotheringay, February 8, 1587. 
We may pity and deplore Mary's sad fate, without 
extenuating her errors. 

Let us now turn to Lady Jean Gordon. Retaining 
the tide of Countess of Bothwell, and endowed with a 
jointure from the -Bothwell estates, she lived for a time 
in a suburb to the south of Edinburgh — probably the 
Sciennes, then a resort for retired persons of quality. 
Afterwards she went to reside with her brother, the Earl 
of Hundy, at his castle of Strathbogie. There she met 
Alexander, eleventh Earl of Sutherland, who, like herself, 
was by descent a Seton ; her intimacy with him ripened | 
into affection; and the pair were married in 1573. At J J 
this time, Bothwell was still living; but he died not long 
afterwards. Stripped of honours and estates, consigned/ 
to infamy, he was suddenly plunged into the condition! 
of a homeless and reckless desperado. A moral retri-u 
bution had at length overtaken one of the worst men of \ 
whom we have any record in history. Having ruined * 
the fortunes of the young and hapless Mary Stuart, he j 
was, by a just Nemesis, ruined himself. He betook 
himself to the profession of a pirate, in which hei 
was captured by Norwegians, and he died mad inj 



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STORY OF LADY JEAN GORDON. 31 

confinement, about 1576. It is not stated that Lady 
Jean regretted his decease. To Dunrobin, where , she 
resided with her second husband, the Earl of Sutherland, 
she carried the dispensation which has been so much the 
subject of controversy. Deposited among the family 
archives, there it lay unknown to any one until lately 
discovered by Dr Stuart, who, by its publication, has 
done a material service to history. 

Alexander, Earl of Sutherland, died while still a 
young man, at Dunrobin, in 1594, leaving his countess, 
Lady Jean, with a family to engage her motherly atten- 
tion. One of her sons was Sir Robert Gordon, the 
historian of the House of Sutherland. To enable her- 
self, as she said, to conduct with advantage the exten- 
sive estates for the benefit of her children, she took for 
third husband Alexander Ogilvie of Boyne, who had been 
previously married to Mary Beaton, one of the queen's 
'four Maries.' In the excuse offered by Lady Jean 
for entering into this fresh matrimonial engagement she 
can hardly be considered to have done herself justice. 
She was what would now be called 'a strong-minded 
woman,' with good business qualities. Douglas speaks 
of her as 'a woman of great prudence.' During the 
last illness of the Earl of Sutherland, she managed all 
the afiairs of the family ; and such was her energy and 
enterprise, that she caused coal to be dug for, and 
established a manufactory of salt, at Brora. The open- 
ing of a coal-pit at the spot had been previously 
attempted, but relinquished. 

Lady Jean's union with the Laird of Boyne lasted 
only a few years. At his decease, she remained perma- 
nently a widow. Till her death, she continued to take 
an active share in the management of the Sutherland 



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32 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

estates. Dr Stuart embellishes his book with a por- 
trait of this remarkable woman, which seems to have 

Jbeen executed when she was advanced in years, and 
resembles the sober countenance of ah aged nun. Till 
the last, she preserved the dispensation which had allied 
her to Bothwell, and it continues at Dunrobin among 
the carefully preserved muniments of the Sutherland 
family. Lady Jean lived till her eighty-fourth year. She 
quietly drew out existence till the reign of Charles L, 

-and died in May 1629. 

How much it is to be regretted that, with her wonder- 
ful power of observation, Lady Jean did not write a 
diary of her experiences from the reign of Mary till the 
rise of the troubles which issued in the Commonwealth ! 
For all this, she was competent ; but possibly she was 
too much engrossed in family affairs to think of writing 
down an account of passing events. In 161 5, she had 
to mourn the loss of her eldest son, John, twelfth Earl 
of Sutherland. At his decease, he left a son, from 
whom, in direct descent, sprang William, the seven- 
teenth earl, who was destined to be the last of the 
family in the male (or Seton) line. His lordship had 
two children, daughters, Catherine and Elizabeth. An 
unlucky event deprived him of the elder when she was 
about a year and a half old. One day, after dinner, on 
coming into the drawing-room at Dunrobin, he, by way 
of frolic, held up the infant above his head, and, sad 
to say, let her accidentally fall, by which she received 
injuries from which she shortly died. In distress of 
mind at being the cause of his child's death, his lord- 
ship became ill, languished, and died at Bath in June 
1766. From fatigue in having attended him on his 
deathbed, day and night for three weeks, the countess, 



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STORY OF LADY JEAN GORDON. 33 

his widow, also died. Both were laid in one grave in 
the abbey church of Holyrood — a sacrifice to affection, 
and an acute sense of duty, pathetically commemorated 
in lines by Sir Gilbert Elliot of Minto : 

for ne'er did wedded love 
To one sad grave consign a lovelier pair, 
Of manners gentler, or of purer heart ! 

There now only survived the orphan child, Elizabeth, 
who was born at Leven Lodge, near Edinburgh, in 
May 1765, and was only a few months old when the 
heritage of the Sutherland family devolved upon her, 
which, unhappily, became matter of contest Her right 
to succeed was litigated by -two male relatives; but after 
various proceedings, lasting over five years, Elizabeth's 
title was sustained, as springing in a clearly traced line 
from the first Earl of Sutherland, 1275, and that, on a 
previous occasion, a female had unchallenged inherited 
the titles and estates. Popularly, the decision was 
deemed a triumph, and extraordinary rejoicings took 
place in consequence. 

The prudence, foresight, and vigour of character of 
Lady Jean Gordon were inherited by the young 
Countess Elizabeth. In 1779, sne patriotically raised 
a regiment of a thousand men; and in 1793, raised 
another regiment of fencibles, which is now known as 
the 93d Sutherland Highlanders. At the court of 
George III., the Countess Elizabeth, for her beauty and 
fine figure, was justly considered to be a distinguished 
ornament With her many estimable qualities, titles, 
and princely domain, her marriage could not but be 
brilliant In 1785, the countess was married to George 
Granville Leveson Gower, Marquis of Stafford ; he was 

c 



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34 STOKIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

also heir of his uncle, Francis, the famed Duke of 
Bridgewater. The marquis was created Duke of Suther- 
land in 1833 ; after which date, the Countess Elizabeth 
was generally styled the Duchess-Countess. She died 
4n 1839. 

To some, it may seem strange that we should extend 
the story of Lady Jean beyond the period of her varied 
existence. But in the institutions of Great Britain, a 
family with extensive possessions, and of historical note 
stretching over centuries, is a species of corporation 
identifying the past with the present, and calculated to 
be of use in imparting a certain solidity and permanence 
to the fabric of society. Is it not interesting to know, 
that the present Duke_pf Sutherland, noted for his 
public spirit and extraordinary desire to effect improve- 
L/ y \ ments on his property, traces his descent from Lady 
Jean Gordon, whose extraordinary history, in connection 
with Queen Mary, Darnley, Rizzio, Huntly, and Both- 
well, we have very faintly delineated? 



// 



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STORY OF THE COUNTESS OF 
NITHSDALE. 



HPHE Maxwells, in days bygone, were the most power- 
-*■ fill family in the western part of the Scottish Border. - 
One of them, Lord John Maxwell, was a bold and t 

audacious man, overbearing and unruly, and for a time } — ' — "/ ' 
was the torment oFtRewhoIe south of Scotland. His I 
successors were less marked in character. If they were ' 
more peaceful, it was perhaps because the scope for 
feudal broils and political confusion had been vastly 
diminished by the union of the crowns. Robert, eighth 

Lord Maxwell, was created Earl of Nithsdale in 1620. ^ 

Attached to the Stewart dynasty, they were steady royal- 
ists, for which predilection they suffered forfeiture of 
title and estates in the person of William, the fifth earl. 
This young nobleman, having proceeded to St Germain 
to do homage to James II., there fell in love with Lady ^ — 
Winifred Herbert, youngest daughter of the Marquis of 
Powis. His devoted affection met with a favourable 
response. The two were married in 1699 ; the young . 
earl carrying away his bride to his mansion of Terregles, 
in the stewartry of Kirkcudbright. 



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35 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

Settling down at this fair scene — noted for its fine 
gardens — the Countess of Nithsdale had a family of five 
children, three of whom died in infancy, leaving a son, 
Lord William Maxwell, and a daughter, Lady Anne. 
With these surviving children she was living peacefully, 
expecting no overturn in affairs, when the madly con- ■ 
•ceived and badly conducted rebellion of 17 15 broke out | 
under the Earl of Mar. Lord Nithsdale joined the 
insurgents; and was taken prisoner at Preston, along 
Tvith Lords Derwentwater, Widdrington, Wintoun, 
Carnwath, Kenmure, Nairn, Charles Murray, and many 
other persons of note, all of whom were forthwith con- 
veyed to London. They were introduced into the city 
in a kind of triumphal procession, which was much less 
dishonourable to the unfortunate sufferers, than to the / 
mean minds who pandered to the passions of the mob/ 
by planning such an ignoble triumph. When the 
prisoners had reached Bamet, they were all pinioned 
with cords like the vilest criminals. At Highgate they 
were met by a strong detachment of horse-grenadiers 
and foot-guards — halters were put upon their horses, and 
each man's horse was led by a private soldier, and their 
ears were stunned by the drums of their escort beating 
a triumphal march, and by the shouts of the multitude, 
who loaded them with every kind of scurrilous abuse 
and insult In this manner they were led through the^ 
streets of the city, and divided among the four principal 
prisons, the noblemen being secured in the Tower. 

They were not long suffered to remain in uncertainty 
regarding their fate. On the 9th February 17 16, the; 
were tried by the House of Lords on a charge 
armed rebellion. They could only plead guilty, an< 
throw themselves on the royal clemency. They were 



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STORY OF THE COUNTESS OF NITHSDALE. 37 

condemned to death, and their execution as traitors was 
appointed to take place on Tower Hill on Wednesday j ' 
the 24th of the month. In compliance with an opinion 
expressed by the House of Lords, the king commuted 
the punishment so far as concerned Carnwath and 
Widdrington. As regards Lords Derwentwater, Ken- 
mure, and Nithsdale, the law was left to take its course. 
During the insurrection, the Countess of Nithsdale 
remained quietly with her two children at Terregles; 
but on learning that her husband had surrendered, and 
was a prisoner, she resolved, at whatever risk, to join 
him. The season was the dead of winter, travelling was 
difficult, an infant daughter had to be taken charge of, 
and some family papers were to be secured. In the 
exigency, the countess buried the papers in a corner of 
the gardens, and committed her child to the care of her 
sister-in-law. This lady, known in her young days as 
Lady Mary Maxwell, was a daughter of the fourth Earl ) 
of Nithsdale, and^ had married Charles, fourth Earl of ' 
Traquair. Having made such arrangements as were 
p possible in the circumstances, the Countess of Nithsdale"") _ _^— - 
f set out^nj^orseback, attended by her faithful maid, 7 
Cecilia Evans? Thus she travelled as far as York, I 
where she procured a seat in the stage-coach, and was \ 
obliged to leave Evans to continue the journey on j 
horseback. After all, the coach was of little use. On 
arriving at Grantham, it could get no farther on account \ — 
of a snow-storm. The countess, writing from Stamford 
to Lady Traquair, says: 'The snow is so deep it is 1 
impossible it [the coach] should stir without some / 
change of weather; upon which I have again hired. I 
horses, and shall go the rest of the journey on horse- 1 ;/ , fh~- 
back to London, though the snow is so deep that our j-> / ~?~^f 



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Q. 



38 . STORTES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

horses yesterday were in several places almost buried in 
it . , . To-morrow, I shall set forward again. Such a 
journey, I believe, was scarce ever made, considering 
/the weather, by a woman. But an earnest desire com- 
passes a great deal with God's help. If I meet my dear 
Lord Will, and am so happy as to be able to serve him, 
I shall think all my trouble well repaid. ... I think 
myself fortunate in having complied with your kind 
desire of leaving my little girl with you. Had I her 
with me, she would have been in her grave by this time, 
with the excessive cold.* 

Animated by an heroic ardour and self-devotion, 

the countess endured a degree of suffering to which 

many succumbed; she at length reached London in 

safety, but so overcome with fatigue and exposure, 

_„- — that she lay several days in bed. Her first endeavour 

was to procure admittance to the Tower ; and this, after 

some difficulty, and under certain restrictions, she 

obtained. It was a joyful, but also a melancholy 

meeting with her husband. Only a few days were to 

elapse before the execution, and if not saved by an 

^^-interposition of the royal authority/ the fate of the earl 

^^^ was to all appearance sealed. The countess, of course, 

spared no pains in making an appeal for mercy. She 

went to St James's Palace, and had an interview with 

the king, to whom on bended knee she presented; her 

petition. Not much to the credit of George L, he 

/turned from her, while in an agony of feeling she clung 

1/ I to the skirts of his coat, and on her knees was dragged 

U^ I along a passage, until die fell back fainting. It was a 

1 uniserable scene. The petition dropped to the ground 

in the struggle, and was unavailing. 

The attempt was discouraging, but hope had not 



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STORY OF THE COUNTESS OF NITHSDALE. 39 

altogether vanished. There were certain proceedings 
in the House of Lords which offered a chance of the 
sentence being remitted. The conclusion at which the 
House arrived was practically this : that the king should 
exercise the prerogative of mercy only to those who 
would voluntarily give such information as would be 
serviceable to the government In short, pardon was 
to be granted to none but informers. Hopes could no 
longer be entertained. Lord Nithsdale would disdain 
to be an informer. His lady could not wish him to be < 
so, even to save his life. There was now nothing left 
to evade the execution save an attempt at escape. 
Pondering on all the circumstances, the heroic countess 
could fall on ho plan likely to be more successful than 
that of smuggling the earl out of the Tower in women's 
clothes. It was an ingeniously conceived project, and 
entered upon with, till then, a matchless degree of skill 
and resolution. There was little time to lose. In two 
days the execution was to take place. 

Resolved to carry out her plan, the countess, as a 
first step, rushed to the Tower, and, referring to the pro- 
ceedings in the House of Lords, gaily remarked to the 
soldiers on guard that there were good news, and that 
the sentence on the prisoners would soon be remitted. 
She further gave them money to drink the health of the 
king and the peers. Her object was to put them in 
good-humour and lessen their vigilance, and she did so 
without raising any suspicions of a trick being contem- 
plated. The earl was judiciously kept in ignorance 
regarding the scheme devised for his escape ; much, as 
the countess thought, depending on the perfect secrecy 
with which it should be carried out Besides, from all 
we can learn, Lord Nithsdale was not particularly^ 



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40 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

brilliant nor reserved in character, and we might say 
that he presented the far from unusual instance of a 
^somewhat dull and selfish husband united to a clever 
and wholly unselfish wife. That a very high sense of 
duty and affection animated the countess in this extra- 
ordinary effort, cannot be doubted. Until our own 
times, when Madame Lavalette resorted successfully to 
the scheme of effecting her husband's escape from 
execution, there was no case at all to compare with the 
wifely devotedness of the Countess of Nithsdale. 

The manner in which she accomplished her object 
has, in a general way, long been known. It is only 
now, however, that we learn the particulars in all their 
minute fidelity from the Book of Caerlaverock, a work in 
two large quarto volumes, printed for private circulation, 
consisting of a collection of family papers, edited by W. 
Fraser, an eminent Scottish antiquary and genealogist 
Among the mass of letters contained in this remarkable 
work, is one written by Lady Nithsdale to her sister, 
Lady Lucy Herbert, detailing the circumstances of the 
escape, and for the first time copied without any attempt 
at smoothing asperities of language. What we have 
now to say, therefore, is very much a condensation of 
this interesting document, which is still happily pre- 
served in the library at Terregles. 

In her enterprise, the countess did not trust entirely 
to herself. She found it expedient to seek the assistance 
of Mrs Mills, at whose house she lodged, and also Mrs 
Morgan, a friend of her maid, Evans. On the morn- 
ing before the intended execution, she said to Mrs 
Mills, confidentially : ' Finding now there is no further 
room for hope of my lord's pardon, nor longer time 
than this night, I am resolved to endeavour his escape* 



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STORY OF THE COUNTESS OF NITHSDALE. 41 

I have provided all that is requisite for it, and I hope 
you will not refuse to come along with me to the end 
that he may pass for you. Nay, more, I must beg you 
will come immediately, because we are full late.' Thus 
besought, and having no time for consideration, or for 
raising objections to the scheme, she consented to render 
the assistance required of her ; a sense of pity overcom- 
ing any apprehension in being concerned in aiding the 
escape of a convicted traitor. So much being settled, 
the countess turned to Mrs Morgan, and requested her 
to put under her own riding-hood another which she had 
provided. All these now stepped into a coach Evans 
had brought to the door. They drove to the Tower, 
and fearing that her two companions might retract, the 
countess took care to keep up an incessant talk until 
they arrived at their destination. 

Having got within the Tower, the coach was dis- 
missed, and the critical part of the drama commenced. 
As only one person could be allowed to accompany her 
on her visit, the countess left Mrs Mills in the vestibule, 
and took Mrs Morgan up-stairs to the earl's apartment, 
talking to her, in a tone to be overheard, as to the 
probability of a pardon being granted, on presenting a 
petition which she had with her. When within the 
chamber, Mrs Morgan divested herself of the spare 
hood, and was dismissed with the request : ' Pray, do 
me the kindness to send my maid to me that I may be 
dressed, else I shall be too late with my petition.' Mrs 
Mills, who represented the maid, speedily entered the 
room, holding, as previously arranged, a handkerchief 
to her face, as if to conceal her tears; by which 
manoeuvre the guards did not see her countenance. 
Now took place a rapid but ingeniously executed 



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42 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

transformation. There being no time for the earl to 
have his long beard shaved off, it was daubed over with 
some white paint, the cheeks were tinged with rouge, and 
some yellow colouring put on his dark eyebrows. He 
, also tried on Mrs Mills's riding-hood, or more properly 
cloak, which on going out would effectually shroud his 
person. It was no part of the countess's design to leave 
Mrs Mills in the apartment, after the departure of the 
earl, for she could not tell what might be the vengeance 
of the government on finding that the prisoner had 
escaped. She now, therefore, dismissed Mrs Mills, 
speaking to her so loudly as to be heard by the guards 
in the ante-room : ' Dear Mrs Catherine, I must beg 
you to go in all haste and look for my woman, for she 
certainly does not know what o'clock it is, and has 
forgot the petition I am to give, which, should I miss, 
is irreparable, having but this one night ; let her make 
all haste she can possible, for I shall be on thorns till 
she comes.' Everybody within hearing, who were 
chiefly the guards' wives and daughters, seemed to be 

^ full of compassion ; and the sentinel officiously opened 
the door. 

'When I had seen Mrs Mills out,' proceeds the 
countess in her narrative, ' I returned back to my lord, 
and finished dressing him. When I had given the last 
touches to his disguise, dressing him in all my petticoats 
excepting one, I perceived that it was growing dark, 
and was afraid that the light of the candles might betray 
us ; so I resolved to set off I went out, leading him 
by the hand, and he held his handkerchief to his eyes. 
I spoke to him in the most piteous and afflicted tone of 

-"voice, bewailing bitterly the negligence of Evans, who 
had ruined me by her delay. Then said I : " My dear 



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STORY OF THE COUNTESS OF NITHSDALE. 43 

Mrs Betty, for the love of God, run quickly, and bring 
her with you. You know my lodging, and if ever you 
made despatch in your life, do it at present : I am almost 
distracted with this disappointment" The guards 
opened the doors, and I went down-stairs with him, still 
conjuring him to make all possible despatch. As soon 
as he had cleared the door, I made him walk before me, 
for fear the sentinel should take notice of his walk ; but 
I still continued to press him to make all the despatch he 
possibly could. At the bottom of the stairs, I met my 
dear Evans, into whose hands I confided him. I had 
before engaged Mr Mills to be in readiness before the 
Tower, to conduct him to some place of safety, in case 
we succeeded. Evans and Mr Mills having found a 
place of security, they conducted my lord to it. 

' In the meanwhile, as I had pretended to have sent 
the young lady on a message, I was obliged to return 
up-stairs, and go back to my lord's room, in the same 
feigned anxiety of being too late ; so that everybody 
seemed sincerely to sympathise with my distress. When 
I was in the room, I talked to him as if he had been 
really present, and answered my own questions in my 
lord's voice as nearly as I could imitate it I walked 
up and down, as if we were conversing together, till I 
thought they had time enough thoroughly to clear them- 
selves of the guards. I then thought proper to make 
off als<x I opened the door, and stood half in it, that 
those in the outward chamber might hear what I said ; 
but held ft so close that they could not look in. I bade 
my lord a formal farewell for that night; and added, that 
something more than usual must have happened to: 
make Evans negligent on this important occasion, who 
had always been so punctual in the smallest trifles, that 



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44 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

I saw no other remedy than to go in person ; that, if the 
Tower were still open when I finished my business, I 
would return that night ; but that he might be assured I 
would be with him as early in the morning as I could 
gain admittance into the Tower, and I flattered myself I 
should bring favourable news. Then, before I shut the 
door, I pulled through the string of the latch, so that it 
could only be opened on the inside. I then shut it 
with some degree of force, that I might be sure of its 
being well shut I said to the servant as I passed by, 
who was ignorant of the whole transaction, that he need 
not carry in candles to his master till my lord sent for 
him, as he desired to finish some prayers first. I went 
down-stairs, and called a coach. As there were several 
on the stand, I drove home to my lodgings, where poor 
Mr Mackenzie had been waiting to carry the petition, in 
case my attempt had failed. I told him there was no 
need of any petition, as my lord was safe out of the 
Tower, and out of the hands of his enemies, as I hoped; 
but that I did not know where he was. 

* Having discharged the coach, I went in a sedan- 
chair to the house of the Duchess of Montrose, who had 
always borne a part in my distresses, and to whom I 
confided the joyful intelligence of his lordship's escape. 
When I left the duchess, I went to a house which Evans 
had found out for me, and where she promised to 
acquaint me where my lord was. I learned that his 
lordship was in the house of a poor woman, directly 
opposite to the guard-house, and I went thither. The 
woman had but one small room up one pair of stairs, 
and a very small bed in it We threw ourselves upon 
the bed, that we might not be heard walking up and 
down. She left us a bottle of wine and some bread, and 



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STORY OF THE COUNTESS OF NITHSDALE. 45 

Mrs Mills brought us some more in her pocket the next 
day. We subsisted on this provision from Thursday till 
Saturday night, when Mrs Mills came, and conducted 
my lord to the Venetian ambassador's. We did not 
communicate the affair to his Excellency; but one of 
his servants concealed him in his own room till Wednes- 
day, on which day the ambassador's coach-and-six was 
to go down to Dover, to meet his brother. My lord 
put on a livery, and went down in the retinue, without 
the least suspicion, to Dover, where Mr Mitchell (the 
ambassador's servant) hired a small vessel, and imme- 
diately set sail for Calais. The passage was so remark- 
ably short, that the captain threw out this reflection, that 
the wind could not have served better if his passengers 
had been fleeing for their lives ; little thinking it to be 
really the case. Mitchell might have easily returned 
without being suspected of having been concerned in 
my lord's escape ; but my lord seemed inclined to have 
him continue with him; which he did, and has at 
present a good place under our young master. 

' For my part, I absconded to the house of a very 
honest man in Drury Lane, where I remained till I was 
assured of my lord's safe arrival on the continent. With 
regard to myself, it was decided by government, that if 
I remained concealed, no further search should be 
made; but that if I appeared either in England or 
Scotland, I should be secured. But that was not 
sufficient for me, unless I could submit to expose my 
son to beggary.' The countess concludes her interest- 
ing relation by mentioning that she went to Scotland to 
secure the family papers, and having effected this object, 
she returned to London, and made a strong appeal 
on her own and her son's behalf to George I. This 



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46 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

petition was treated with indignity ; and she was advised 
by her friends to leave the kingdom. The countess 
accordingly went abroad, and joined her exiled husband 
at Lille. 

Until the appearance of the Book of Caerlaverock, 
little was known of the career of the countess after her 
brilliant exploit It is now learned from her letters, 
that she suffered much and thanklessly for a husband 
who was undeserving of her. He was, in fact, a sense- 
less spendthrift, recklessly squandering his slender 
means, even to the extent of depriving his wife of the 
comforts which were unquestionably her due. Yet she 
speaks modestly of what she endured on his account, 
and of what was equally painful, the want of sympathy 
from the court of St Germain, for the sake of which the 
Nithsdale family had been ruined. Writing to Lady 
Traquair from Paris in 17 17, she speaks of the failure 
of an application to procure from court some appoint- 
ment for the earl. ' My next business,' she adds, ' was 
to see what I could get to live on, that we might take our 
resolutions where to go accordingly. But all I could 
get was a hundred livres [four pounds sterling] a month 
to maintain me in everything — meat, drink, fire, candle, 
washing, clothes, lodging, servants' wages ; in fine, all 
manner of necessaries. My husband has two hundred 
livres a month, but considering his way of managing, it 
was impossible to live upon it . , • For let me do 
what I will, he cannot be brought to submit to live 
^according to what he has ; and when I endeavoured to 
■ 3 *" persuade him to keep in compass, he attributed my 
advice to my grudging him everything, which stopped 
my mouth, since I am very sure that I would [give] my 
heart's blood if it could do him any service. . • . It 



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STORY OF THE COUNTESS OF NITHSDALE. 47 

was neither in gaming, company, nor much drinking, 
that it was spent, but in having the nicest of meat and ^ 
wine ; and all the service I could do was to see he was 
not cheated in buying it • • . I having no hopes of 
getting anything out of England, am forced to go to the 
place where my son is, to endeavour to live, the child 
and me, upon what I told you. All my satisfaction is, 
that at least my husband has twice as much to maintain 
himself as I have, so I hope when he sees there is no 
resource, as, indeed, there is not, having sold all, even 
to the necessary little plate I took so much pains to 
bring over, he will live accordingly, which will be some 
comfort to me, though I have the mortification to be 
from him, which, after we met again, I hoped never toi , 
have separated; but God's will be done, and I submit V 
to this cross, as many others I have had in this world.' ^ 

By way of attempting to mend his circumstances, the 
earl went to the court of the Chevalier at Urbino. 
Here, he received so poor, a welcome, and encountered* 
so many mortifications, that he had reason to regret 
what he had endured for the cause of the Stewarts. 
Meanwhile, his wife, in her lonely desertedness, was 
experiencing the sharpest privations of poverty, and but 
for kindly succour from Lady Traquair, would have 
been reduced to absolute want As for the earl, he 
inconsiderately borrowed money he could not hope to 
repay, and drew bills on Lord Traquair, trusting merely 
to his lordship's generosity for their acceptance. 
Skirmishing with difficulties, the Countess of Nithsdale 
had something consolatory in the marriage of her 
daughter, Lady Anne, with Lord Bellew, an Irish noble- 
man, in 1 73 1. About the same period, her son John, 
Lord Maxwell, was married to his cousin, Lady 



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48 STOKIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

Catherine Stuart, daughter of Lord and Lady Traquair. 
Another agreeable event was in store. Lord Maxwell 
successfully established his claim in virtue of an entail 
to Terregles and the other family estates, notwithstand- 
ing his father's forfeiture. At the death of the earl, 
which took place at Rome in 1744, he entered fully" 
into possession of the property. In his recovered pros- 
perity, Lord Maxwell did not forget his mother. He 
persuaded her to accept an annuity of two hundred 
pounds ; and we have a striking proof of her unselfish- 
ness in the fact, that during her life she set apart a 
hundred a year to pay her husband's debts. This noble- 
minded woman died in 1749 — her memory being 
embalmed in the brightest annals of female heroism and 
devotedness. 

The Maxwells never recovered the title of Earl of 
Nithsdale, and the family in the direct line became 
extinct. 



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STORY OF LADY GRISELL BAILLIE. 



A MONG that small band of faithful contenders for 
*** civil and religious liberty in the reign of Charles 
II., there were two Scotsmen, Sir Patrick Hume of 
Polwarth, afterwards Earl of Marchmont, and Robert 
Baillie of Jerviswood, who were quite as memorable as 
those eminent sufferers in the same cause, Lord Russell 
and Algernon Sidney. Polwarth is a small parish near 
the centre of Berwickshire, deriving some note from its 
village, ordinarily known as Polwarth-on-the-green — the 
village being a scattered collection of dwellings in a 
green or common, on the centre of which once grew a 
thorn-tree, celebrated in song and local tradition. Sir 
Patrick Hume succeeded his father as laird of the estate 
of Polwarth in 1648, while still a mere child, and was 
indebted to his excellent mother, a pious lady, for the 
better part of his early education. The dwelling-place 
of the family was Redbraes Castle, about two miles 
from the parish church of Polwarth. In due time, Sir 
Patrick was married, and had a large family — as many 
as eighteen children, the eldest of whom was a daughter, 
Grisell, born on Christmas-day 1665. 

It need scarcely be told that at this time Scotland 
D 



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50 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

was in a ferment on account of certain severe measures 
adopted by the ruling authorities against nonconformists, 
who declined to take the ' test/ and murmured at the 
arbitrary orders of the court and privy-council. In 
1673, when Sir Patrick sat as a member of the Scottish 
parliament, he was bold enough to oppose the despotic 
propositions of Lauderdale, and was henceforth de- 
nounced as a person dangerous to the state. Two years 
later, having remonstrated against the measure for 
establishing garrisons to keep down the people, he was 
committed to the Tolbooth of Edinburgh, and subse- 
quently sent to Stirling Castle, in which he suffered six 
months' imprisonment He was liberated by the inter- 
cession of friends, but not long afterwards was again 
confined) and altogether suffered imprisonment for about 
two years. Finding that the Scottish ministers of state 
were bent on his destruction, he went for a time to 
England, and had some friendly intercourse with the 
Earl of Shaftesbury and Lord Russell. 

Returning to his home at Redbraes, Sir Patrick hoped 
to escape notice, but things were now worse than ever. 
The persecution of the Covenanters was at its height. 
On the 2 2d of June 1679, was fought the battle of 
Bothwell Brig, at which the insurgents suffered severe 
loss; twelve hundred of them being taken prisoners, 
were driven to Edinburgh, and confined in a pen like 
cattle, till their numbers were thinned by public exe- 
cution or banishment Claverhouse traversed the dis- 
turbed parts of the country with a troop of dragoons 
trying people by military law, and slaying without mercy, 
or, at the least, capturing persons of note, and sending 
them to Edinburgh for trial by the justiciary court and 
privy-council We only glance at a state of things 



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STORY OF LADY GRISELL BAILLIE. $T 

which brought disgrace on the Stewart dynasty, and 
helped materially towards its expulsion. Perhaps 
Charles II. was not to blame personally for the in- 
humanities inflicted in his name ; but, by his indiffer- 
ence or weakness, his Scottish ministers — a set of 
despicable time-servers — were allowed to do pretty 
much as they liked, and in their caprice or hostility no 
man was safe. While Sir Patrick Hume was almost in 
daily expectation of being seized as a suspected person, 
we turn for a moment to his friend, Robert Baillie of 
Jerviswood, who was less fortunate in maintaining a 
state of immunity. 

Special attention had two or three years previously 
been drawn to Baillie by a somewhat curious circum- 
stance. His brother-in-law, the Rev. Mr Kirkton, a 
nonconformist minister, was one day civilly accosted in 
the High Street of Edinburgh by a man named Carstairs, 
who expressed a desire to speak to him in private. 
Suspecting no evil, he followed the stranger to a mean- 
looking house, which he no sooner entered than the 
door was shut and locked upon him, his captor hurrying 
off in quest of a warrant to place him in confinement 
Carstairs was a spy, and to gain a reward as an informer 
on what he presumed to be a suspected recusant, he had 
resorted to this manoeuvre. The cries made by Kirkton 
brought people to the door, and at his request Baillie, 
who happened to be in town, was brought to his suc- 
cour. Carstairs returned, as he said, with a warrant, 
but he refused to shew it; whereupon a desperate 
struggle took place, in which he was worsted, and 
Kirkton got away with his friend. The end of the affair 
was that Baillie was subjected to a fine, and branded as 
a favourer of conventicles. This was but the beginning 



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fi- 



52 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

of ruination. Being charged with conspiracy to raise 
rebellion, and for concern in the Rye-house Plot, with 
which, if it had any reality, he was no way connected, 
he was imprisoned, and fined in the heavy sum of 
six thousand pounds, being nearly the value of his whole 
estates. 

At this time Grisell Hume was about seventeen years 
of age. Well educated, according to the notion of the 

^ /period, she was also accomplished in household work, >, 
/ such as spinning wool and flax to be woven into webs 
^for domestic use; and likewise skilled in matters con- 
nected with the dairy. Her mother, Lady Hume, 
being, unfortunately, in a weak state of health, the 
management of the family was assigned to her, and 
cleverly she acquitted herself. Young as she was, her 
father took her into counsel respecting public affairs, 
and the perils with which he was surrounded. On two 
occasions, she was despatched on a mission to Baillie of 
Jerviswood while he was confined in the Tolbooth of 
Edinburgh. The journey was full of danger, for the 
country swarmed with detachments of soldiers, charged 
to examine travellers, and discover who they were and 
what were their designs. Grisell carried no papers ; the 
messages transmitted to and fro were verbaj, and 
required a good memory, as well as tact in concealing 
them from the inquiry of strangers. The journey from 
Redbraes to Edinburgh was at least fifty miles, and 

- performed on horseback, could not, considering the 
badness 6f"flie roads and the necessity for making a 
circuit to avoid towns, be performed in less than from 
two to three days. 

In these hazardous excursions, she was sometimes 
put to considerable straits to avoid being stopped and 



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STOR y OF LAD Y GRISELL BAILLIE. 53 

questioned. In one of her journeys, she took the road 
by way of Earlston, and there learned that the passes 
northwards were strongly guarded. In her extremity, 
she was succoured by a party of gipsies, to one of whom, 
a female named Jean Gordon, she had done an act of 
kindness. Taking her under their guidance, the party 
led her by obscure byways to Lowrie's Den, a small and 
lonely hostel on the top of Soutra Hill, where, disguised 
in gipsy garments, she was accommodated in an out- 
house for the night ; and next morning she was escorted 
safely on her way into Mid-Lothian. The scenes she 
encountered on reaching Edinburgh were sufficiently 
appalling. Executions were of daily occurrence, and 
the ports of the ancient city bristled with the heads of 
so-called traitors. How she managed to gain access to 
that grim old Tolbooth is not related. Probably it was 
through the interest of some friends or relatives of Mr 
Baillie, At all events, she was allowed on each occasion 
to have a private interview with that unfortunate gentle- 
man in the loathsome small apartment in which he was 
confined, in the east or criminal division of the prison. 
There she delivered the messages from her father, and 
received verbal communications in reply. At one, or it 
might have been at both interviews, Grisell met and 
conversed with George Baillie, younger of Jerviswood, 
eldest son of the prisoner. He was over two years 
her senior. A community of danger and fears led to 
mutual regard and attachment. At present, thoughts of 
marriage were out of the question. The feelings of 
both were centred in the condition of their respective 
fathers. GriselTs last visit to the Tolbooth was neces- 
sarily hurried. She had to hasten home, in consequence 
of increasing apprehensions as to her father's safety. 



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vjCtf: 



-54 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

Not long afterwards, the fate of Baillie of Jerviswood 
was sealed. On the 23d of Decjeniber 1684, he was 
brought before the High Court of Justiciary. He was 
now so weak as to be obliged to appear at the bar in 
the dishabille of his dressing-gown, and frequently to 
take cordials, which were supplied to him by his sister. 
He solemnly denied having been accessory to any con- 
spiracy against the king's life, or of being unfavourably 
disposed to monarchical government The only evi- 
dence brought against him were confessions extorted by 
the torture of the * thumbikens ' — an instrument which^A 
working like a vice, crushed the thumbs, and producea 
the most excruciating agony. On such imperfect and 
untrustworthy evidence, he was, on the morning of the 
succeeding day, declared to be guilty, and sentenced to 
be executed that afternoon at the Cross of Edinburgh; 
his body to be dismembered, and portions to be 
ibited on the prisons of four different towns. The 
iniquitous sentence was carried out accordingly. With 
extraordinary composure, in a pious frame of mind, he 
ascended the scaffold leaning on the arm of his sister 
(Mrs Ker of Graden), and protesting his innocence, 
meekly submitted himself to the executioner. 

Thus was ignominiously put to death Robert Baillie 
of Jerviswood, a man of sterling worth and abilities, and 
who has been commemorated as the Scottish Sidney. 
By the forfeiture of his estates his family were completely 
ruined. His son George, like many others at the, time, 
/f ^4^ took refuge in Holland. Our interest is now transferred 

*T ^ *\ tQ ^ e unhappy family at Redbraes. For some weeks, 

Sir Patrick Hume had gone into hiding. The place 
selected for his concealment was the old sepulchral 
vault of the family, underneath the parish church at 



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STORY OF LADY GRISELL BAILLIE. 55 

Polwarth, which, as has been said, is about two" miles 
from Redbraes Castle. Besides Lady Hume and 
Grisell, only one person was let into the secret of his 
hiding-place. This was Jamie Winter, a carpenter, who 
lived a mile off, and used to do odd jobs of work about 
the house. On the fidelity of Jamie they thought they 
could depend, and were not disappointed. By the 
assistance of this man they got a mattress and bed- 
clothes, a small table and chair, and some other articles, 
carried during the night to the vault In the daytime, 
the vault was lighted only by a small slit in the wall at ^-~"~ 
one end, through which nobody could see what was 
below. Here Sir Patrick lived part of the autumn ofV y^— - 
1684, without fire, and surrounded by the mouldering^ y 
remains of his ancestors and other ghastly objects.)' 
Though infirm in health, he was enabled to endure 
the privations of this dreary hiding-place, by the J 
strength of his mind, and the affectionate ministrations / 
of his daughter Grisell. For warmth he wore a Kil-/ 
marnock night-cap. His chief mental solacement con-« 
/Sisted in perusing Buchanan's Latin version of the -f~ — my r/* 
^-Psalms, a book which, during his dismal solitude, he 1^^ 
^Jeamed to repeat from memory. It seems that, when *r 
sitting one night at table reading this favourite work, by 
the light of a small and carefully shrouded lamp, his 
eye happened to stray towards a skull which lay near 
his feet. To his surprise, the skull moved. He was at 
first disturbed in mind by this strange circumstance ; 
but soon recovered his composure. In a short time the 
motion became too strong to be doubtful Sir Patrick 
had the courage to turn over the skull with his cane, 
when a mouse jumped from the interior, and afforded an 
explanation of the phenomenon. He used to tell this 



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56 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

story in after-life, to shew that people should not be 
"alarmed at things which may appear supernatural 

His daughter Grisell must have possessed a degree of 
fortitude not inferior to his own. She went every night, 
alone, at midnight, along a dreary road, to "carry him 
victuals and drink ; always staying with him as long as 
she could, getting home before day. Though possessing 
some dread in crossing the churchyard in the dark, 
stumbling over graves, her only real apprehension was 
the fear of soldiers and parties in search of her father. 
In these excursions the least noise was alarming. There 
was another cause of anxiety. This was the difficulty 
of getting victuals to carry off without arousing the 
suspicions of the servants. A diverting incident has 
been related. Her father liked sheep's head. One 
day, at dinner, this favourite dish appeared at table. 
While the children were supping their broth, Grisell 
had the dexterity to convey the greater part of the 
head into her lap. When her brother Sandy had 
finished his broth, he looked up with astonishment, 
and said: 'Mother, will ye look at Grisell; while we 
. have been supping our broth, she has eaten up nearly 
the whole sheep's head!' . This occasioned so much 
mirth amongst them, that her father at night was greatly- 
entertained by it, and desired that Sandy should have a 
share of the next. 

The damp and gloomy vault became at length unen- 
durable as a habitation, and a new expedient was 
adopted. With the aid of Jamie Winter, a hole was 
excavated in the lower floor of the family residence, 
and filled up with a box to contain a bed, which 
was concealed under the boards. To this place of 
concealment, Sir Patrick was brought, and by means of 



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STORY OF LADY GRISELL BAILLIE. 57 

air-holes in the floor, he could contrive to live and 
breathe. It proved a vain effort One day, after heavy 
rains, the bed was full of water, and had to be given 
up. At this juncture, a carrier arrived from Edinburgh, 
bringing the news of Baillie of Jerviswood's barbarous 
execution. As all intercourse by letters was dangerous, 
this was the first notice they had of the melancholy 
event It was now seen that Sir Patrick Hume should, 
if at all possible, make his escape from the country. 
Grisell worked night and day, making clothes in which 
he would be disguised. When all was ready for de- 
parture, he set out early in the morning on horseback, 
attended by John Allan, his grieve, or farm-overseer, 
in whom confidence could be placed. The party had 
proceeded a considerable distance on their way, when 
Sir Patrick, falling into a reverie, parted company with - — 
his attendant, and did not discover the mistake till he 
found himself close to the Tweed. This, however, was 
a fortunate misadventure, for soon after his parting with 
Allan, a company of soldiers that had been in search of 
him at Redbraes, and followed, in expectation of over- 
taking him, came up, and would inevitably have dis- 
covered and seized him, if he had not been on another 
track. On learning what had happened, he dismissed 
his attendant, and, leaving the main-road, reached 
London through by-ways. During the journey, he 
represented himself as a surgeon, a character he could 
have supported effectually; for he carried a case of 
lancets, and was acquainted with their use. From 1 
London he found his way to France, and thence, after\ . ^ 
a short stay, passed by way of Brussels to Hollander V/ 
He had an audience of the Prince of Orange, who\ \ 
treated him with particular respect His estates in 7 



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58 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

Scotland being forfeited, the family were almost reduced 
to destitution. By pawning some plate, and procuring 
pecuniary assistance from friends in England, they 
-were able to get to Holland, where all resided, though 
suffering great straits, until the Revolution. 

What followed belongs to history. Sir Patrick Hume 
made a distinguished figure in the new government of 
William and Mary. His attainder was reversed by parlia- 
ment, and, as a testimony of his virtues and sufferings, 
he was created a peer by the title of Lord Polwarth. 
In 1696, he was promoted to be Earl of Marchmont 
This illustrious patriot died in 1724. He was succeeded 
by his eldest surviving son, Alexander — the Sajodj--/- 
of the anecdote about the sheep's head — who, having 
previously married the daughter and heiress of Campbell 
of Cessnock, added Campbell to the family surname. 
The Marchmont peerage became extinct through the 
failure of male heirs in 1793. The claim to be Baron 
Polwarth was allowed by parliament, in 1835, to Hugh 

Scott of Harden, whose father had married Lady Diana 

Hume Campbell, daughter of Hugh, third Earl of 
Marchmont. 

We now have to speak of the fortunes of the heroic 
Grisell. Returning to England with the Princess of 
Orange, she got an offer of being one of her maids 
of honour, but this she declined, and chose going to 
Scotland with the rest of the family. The attachment 
between her and George Baillie was not made known 
until the reversal of the forfeiture of the Jerviswood 
estate, when there being no longer a necessity for 
keeping the matter a secret, the two by general assent 
were married. She had now, in virtue of her father's 
earldom, the title of 'lady,' and becomes known as 



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STORY OF LADY GRISELL BAILLIE. 59 

Lady Grisell Baillie of Jerviswood. She is stated to 
have had a peculiarly happy married life, and to have 
been most exemplary in all the duties of her station. 
She had two daughters, Grisell and Rachel. The 
former was married to Mr Murray, afterwards Sir Alex- 
, ander Murray of Stanhope ; the latter, to Charles Lord 
Binning, eldest son of Thomas, sixth Earl of Hadding- 
ton, from whom are descended the present families 
of Haddington and of Baillie of Jerviswood. The 
heroine of our story, if it can be called so, died in 
London in 1746, having outlived George Baillie eight 
years. Her last expressed wish was to be buried beside 
him at Mellerstain, and, with characteristic forethought, 
she left for this purpose a purse of money in her 
cabinet Her daughter, Lady Murray, who has written 
her Memoirs, was unfortunate in her marriage, though 
we do not learn the particulars. Sir Alexander Murray 
of Stanhope dying without issue, was succeeded by 
his nephew, Sir David Murray, who, for his concern 
in the rebellion of 1745, was condemned to death; 
but, as an act of royal clemency, his life was spared, 
and he went into banishment The Stanhope estates 
were, however, forfeited and sold. As regards Lady 
Grisell Baillie, her memory has been preserved not 
alone by her heroism in early life. Possessing no mean 
poetic talent, she is embraced in the list of songstresses 
of Scotland, her best known piece being the ballad, 
Wcrena my heart licht, I wad dee, which, original and 
amusing, is found in most of the popular collections. 



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STORY OF GRISELL COCHRANE. 



HPHE Cochranes are an old family in Scotland They 
-*- rose to distinction in the fifteenth century, and J\ 
have always been remarkable for courage and ingenuityJ*^^ 
Sir William Cochrane was elevated to the peerage as 
Baron Cochrane in 1647, and advanced to the dignity 
of Earl of Dundonald in 1669. His grandson was Sir 
John Cochrane of Ochiltree, who, along with Sir Patrick 
Hume of Polwarth, was concerned in the political 
troubles which, in the reign of James II., brought ruin 
on the Stewart dynasty. While Hume was so fortunate -y 
as to escape abroad, Cochrane was taken prisoner in the^) ) 
rising under the Earl of Argyll, and, being conducted to ' 
Edinburgh, was ignominiously lodged in the Tolbooth, 
on the 3d July 1685, there to await his trial as a traitor. 
The day of trial came, and, as a matter of course, he 
was condemned to death. 

Sir John Cochrane was married, and had a family of 
several sons, and at least one daughter, GriselL This 
young lady, who was about eighteen years of age, 
emulated in courage and resources Grisell Hume, whose 
story, under her married name of Lady Grisell Baillie, has 
been told in the preceding pages. Living at the same 



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STORY OF GRISELL COCHRANE. 6l 

period, it is not unlikely that they were acquainted with 
each other. In their heroic efforts, there was, at all 
events, a remarkable similarity, for each exerted herself 
in no ordinary manner to save the life of her father. 

While lying under sentence of death in that gloomy 
Tolbooth, Sir John Cochrane was permitted to see 
members of his family. Afraid, however, of implicating 
his soris, he forbade them to visit him until they could 
take a last farewell on the night previous to his execu- 
tion. His daughter, however, was allowed to come 
as often and stay with him as long as she pleased. 
The chief subject of their conversation was an appeal 
made to the king for mercy. Although several friends 
interested themselves in trying to procure a remission 
of the sentence, there were no sanguine expectations 
that they would be successful. As the time wore on, 
GriseU's fears increased in intensity; and, without 
explaining herself to any one, she resolved to make 
a bold attempt to postpone her father's fate, if not to 
save him. A short time before the death-warrant was 
expected by the privy-council in Edinburgh, she men- 
tioned to her father that some urgent affair would 
prevent her from seeing him again for a few days. 
Alarmed at this, and penetrating her design of effecting 
some hazardous project in his favour, he warned her 
against any rash enterprise. Her answer was brief and 
emphatic : 'I am a Cochrane ;' and so tenderly bidding 
him adieu, she departed to perform as extraordinary an 
exploit as ever fell to the lot of a young and daring 
female. 

Next morning, long ere the inhabitants were astir, 
Grisell was some miles on her road to the Borders. 
She had attired herself as a young serving-woman, 



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62 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

journeying on a borrowed horse to the house of her 
mother. So equipped and well mounted, she on the 
second day reached in safety the abode of her old 
nurse, who lived on the English side of the Tweed, four 
miles beyond the town of Berwick. In this woman she 
knew she could place implicit confidence, and to her, 
therefore, she revealed her secret She had resolved, 
she said, to make an attempt to save her father's life, 
by stopping the postman, an equestrian like herself, and 
forcing him to deliver up his bags, in which she expected 
to find the fatal warrant Singular as such a determina- 
tion may appear in a delicate young woman, especially 
if we consider that she was aware of the arms always 
carried by the man to whose charge the mail was com- 
mitted, it is nevertheless an undoubted fact that such 
was her resolution. In pursuance of this design, she 
had brought with her a brace of small pistols, together 
with a horseman's cloak, tied up in a bundle, and hung 
on the crutch of her saddle ; and now borrowed from 
her nurse the attire of her foster-brother, which, as he 
was a slight-made lad, fitted her reasonably well. 

At that period, all those appliances which at this day 
accelerate the progress of the traveller were unknown, 
and the mail from London, which now arrives in less 
than twelve hours, took eight days in reaching the 
Scottish capital Miss Cochrane thus calculated on a 
delay of sixteen or seventeen days in the execution of 
her father's sentence — a space of time which she deemed 
amply sufficient to give a fair trial to the treaty set on 
foot for his liberation. She had, by means which it is 
unnecessary here to detail, possessed herself of the most 
minute information with regard to the places at which 
the postmen rested on their journey, one of which was 



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STORY OF GRISELL COCHRANE. 63 

a small public-house kept by a widow, on the outskirts 
of the little town of Belford. There the man who 
received the bag at Durham was accustomed to arrive 
about six o'clock in the morning, and take a few hours' 
repose before proceeding farther on his journey. In 
pursuance of the plan laid down by Miss Cochrane, she 
arrived at this inn about an hour after the man had 
composed himself to sleep, in the hope of being able, by 
the exercise of her wit and dexterity, to ease him of his 
charge. 

Having put her horse into the stable — which was a 
duty that devolved on the guests at this little public- 
house, from its mistress having no hostler — she entered 
the only apartment which the house afforded, and 
demanded some refreshment * Sit down at the end of 
that table,' said the old woman, 'for the best I have to 
give you is there already ; and be pleased, my bonny 
man, to make as little noise as you can, for there 's 
ane asleep in that bed that I like ill to disturb.' 
Miss Cochrane promised fairly; and after attempting 
to eat some of the viands, which were the remains of 
the sleeping man's meal, she asked for some cold 
water. 

'What !' said the old dame, as she handed it to her, 
'ye are a water-drinker, are ye ? It 's but an ill custom 
for a change-house.' 

' I am aware of that,' replied her guest, ' and there- 
fore, when in a public-house, always pay for it the price 
of the stronger potation, which I cannot take.' 

' Indeed — well, that is but just/ responded the dame ; 
'and I think the more of you for such reasonable 
conduct' 

1 Is the well where you get this water near at hand ? ' 



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f 



64 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

said the young lady ; ' for if you will take the trouble 
to bring me some from it, as this is rather tepid, it shall 
be considered in the reckoning.' 

' It is a good bit off/ said the woman ; * but I cannot 
refuse to fetch some for such a civil* discreet lad, and 
will be as quick as I can. But, for any sake, take care 
and don't meddle with these pistols,' she continued, 
pointing to a pair of pistols on the table, ' for they are 
loaded, and I am always terrified for them.' 

Saying this, she disappeared; and Miss Cochrane, 
who would have contrived some other errand for her, 
had the well been near, no sooner saw the door shut 
than she passed, with trembling eagerness, and a 
cautious but rapid step, across the floor to the place 
where the man lay soundly sleeping, in one of those 
close wooden bedsteads common in the houses of the 
poor, the door of which was left half open to admit the 
air, and which she opened still wider, in the hope of 
seeing the mail-bag, and being able to seize upon it 
But what was her dismay when she beheld only a part 
of the integument which contained what she would 
have sacrificed her life a thousand times to obtain, just 
peeping out from below the shaggy head and brawny 
shoulders of its keeper, who lay in such a position 
upon it as to give not the smallest hope of its extrac- 
tion without his being aroused from his nap! A few 
bitter moments of observation served to convince her 
that, if she obtained possession of this treasure, it must 
be in some other way ; and again closing the door of 
the bed, she approached the pistols, and having taken 
them one by one from the holsters, she as quickly as 
possible drew out their loading, which having secreted, 
she returned them to their cases, and resumed her seat 



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STORY OF GRISELL COCHRANE. 65 

at the foot of the table. Here she had barely time 
to recover from the agitation into which the fear of 
the man's awaking during her recent occupation had 
thrown her, when the old woman returned with the 
water; and having taken a draught, of which she stood 
much in need, she settled her account much to her 
landlady's content, by paying for the water the price 
of a pot of beer. Having then carelessly asked and 
ascertained how, much longer the other guest was likely 
to continue his sleep, she left the house, and mounting 
her horse, she set off at a trot in a different direction 
from that in which she had arrived. 

Making a circuit of two or three miles, she once more 
fell into the high-road between Belford and Berwick, 
where she walked her horse gently on, awaiting the 
coming up of the postman. Though all her faculties 
were now absorbed in one aim, and the thought of 
her father's deliverance still reigned supreme in her 
mind, she could not help occasionally figuring to her- 
self the possibility of her tampering with the pistols 
being discovered, and their loading replaced, in which 
case it was more than likely that her life would be the 
forfeit of the act she meditated. A woman's fears would 
still intrude, notwithstanding all her heroism, and the 
glorious issue which promised to attend the success of 
her enterprise. When she at length saw and heard 
the postman advancing behind her, the strong necessity 
of the case gave her renewed courage ; and it was with 
perfect coolness that, on his coming close up, she civilly 
saluted him, put her horse into the same pace with his, 
and rode on for some way in his company. He was a 
strong thick-set fellow, with a good-humoured counte- 
nance, which did not seem to Miss Cochrane, as she 

£ 



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66 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

looked anxiously upon it,> to savour muck of hardy 
daring. He rode with the mail-bags strapped firmly to 
his saddle in front, close to the; holsters (for. tfoere; were 
two), one containing the letters direct front London; 
and the. other, those taken up at the different post-offices 
on the road. After riding a short distance together 
Miss Cochrane deemed it time, as they were nearly 
half-way between Belford and Berwick, to commence 
her operations^ She therefore, rode nearly dose to her 
companion, and said, in a tone of determination r 
'Friend* I have taken a fancy for those maiL-bags of 
yours, and I must have them; therefore, take my 
advice, and deliver them up quietly, for I am. pro- 
vided for all hazards. I am mounted, as you see, on 
a fleet steed; I carry firearms; and. moreover, am allied 
with those who are stronger, though, not bolder than 
myself. You see yonder wood,' she continued, pointing 
to one at the distance of about a mile, with an accent 
and air meant to carry intimidation. 'Again I say, 
take my advice; give me the bags, and speed back: the 
road you came for the present; nor dare to approach 
that wood for at least two or three hours, to come.' 

There was in, such language from a stripling some- 
thing so surprising, that the man looked on Miss 
Cochrane for an instant in silent and unfeigned amaze- 
ment 'If/ said he, as soon as he found his tongue, 
'.you mean, my young master, to make yourself merry 
at my expense, you are welcome. I am no sour churl 
to take offence at the idle words of a foolish boy. 
But if/ he said, taking one of his pistols from the 
holster, and turning its muzzle towards her, ' you are 
mad enough to harbour one serious thought of such a 
matter, I am ready for you. But, methinks, my lad, 



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STORY OF GRISELL COCHRANE. 6f 

you seem at an age when robbing a garden or an old 
woman's fruit-stall would befit you better, if you must 
turn thiefj than taking his majesty's mails from a stout 
man such as I am upon his highway. Be thankful, 
however, that you have, met with one who win not 
shed blood if he can help it, and sheer off before you 
provoke me to. fire.! 

1 Nay/ said his. young antagonist, ' I am not fonder 
of bloodshed than you are; but if you will not be 
persuaded, what can I do? For I haye told you 
a truth — that mail I must and wUl Juwe. So now 
choose,' she continued, as she drew one. of the small 
pistols from under her cloak, and deliberately cocking 
it, presented it in his face. 

'Nay,. then, your blood be on your own head,' said 
the fellow, as he raised his hand and fired his pistol, 
which, however, only flashed in the pan*. Dashing the 
weapon to the ground, he lost not a moment in pulling 
out the other, which he also aimed at bis assailant, and 
fired with the same result. In a transport, of rage and 
disappointment, the man sprang from his horse, and 
made an attempt to seize her; but, by an adroit use 
of her spurs, she eluded his grasp, and placed herself 
out of his reach; Meanwhile, his horse had moved 
forward some yards, and to see and seize the advantage 
presented by this circumstance was one and the same 
to the heroic girl, who, darting towards it,, caught the 
bridle, and havings led her prize off about a, hundred 
yards, stopped while she called to the thunder-struck 
postman to remind him of her advice about the wood. 
She then put both horses to their speed, and on turn- 
ing to look at the man she had robbed, had the 
pleasure of perceiving that her mysterious threat had 



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-68 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

taken effect, and he was now pursuing his way back to 
Belford. 

Miss Cochrane speedily entered the wood to which 
•she had alluded, and tying the strange horse to a tree, 
out of all observation from the road, proceeded to 
unfasten the straps of the mail. By means of a sharp 
penknife, which set at defiance the appended locks, she 
ivas soon mistress of the contents, and with an eager 
hand broke open the government despatches, which 
were unerringly pointed out to her by their address to 
the Council in Edinburgh, and their imposing weight 
and broad seals of office. Here she found not only 
the fatal warrant for her father's death, but also many 
other sentences inflicting different degrees of punish- 
ment on various delinquents. These, however, it may 
readily be supposed, she did not then stop to examine: 
she contented herself with tearing them into small frag- 
ments, and placing them carefully in her bosom. < 

The intrepid girl now mounted her steed, and rode 
off, leaving all the private papers where she had found 
them, imagining (what eventually proved the case) that 
they would be discovered ere long, from the hints she 
had thrown out about the wood, and thus reach their 
proper places of destination. She now made all haste 
to reach the cottage of her nurse, where, having com- 
mitted to the flames not only the / fragments of the 
dreaded warrant, but also the other obnoxious papers, 
she quickly resumed her female garments, and was 
again, after this manly and daring action, the simple 
and unassuming Miss Grisell Cochrane. Leaving the 
cloak and pistols behind her, to be concealed by her 
nurse, she again mounted her horse, and directed her 
flight towards Edinburgh, and, by avoiding as much 



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STORY OF GRISELL COCHRANE. 69 

as possible the high-road, and resting at sequestered 
cottages, as she had done before, and that only twice 
for a couple of hours each time, she reached town 
early in the morning of the next day. 

It must now suffice to say, that the time gained by 
the heroic act related above was productive of the end 
for which it was undertaken, and that Sir John Coch- 
rane was pardoned, at the instigation of the king's 
favourite counsellor, who interceded for him in conse- 
quence of receiving a bribe of five thousand pounds 
from the Earl of Dundonald. Of the feelings which on 
this occasion filled the heart of his courageous and 
devoted daughter, we cannot speak in adequate terms ; 
and it is perhaps best, at anyrate, to leave them to the 
imagination of the reader. The state of the times was 
not such for several years as to make it prudent that 
her adventure should be publicly known ; but after the 
Revolution, when the country was at length relieved 
from persecution and danger, and every man was at 
liberty to speak of the trials he had undergone, and 
the expedients by which he had mastered them, her 
heroism was neither unknown nor unapproved. Miss 
Cochrane afterwards married Mr Ker of Morriston, in 
the county of Berwick ; and there can be little doubt 
that she proved equally affectionate and amiable as a 
wife, as she had already been dutiful and devoted as 
a daughter. Sir John Cochrane succeeded as second 
Earl of Dundonald. 

The foregoing storiette, which we have condensed 
mainly from an historical tradition by the late Dr R. 
Chambers, may possibly suggest, as in the case of Lady 
Grisell Baillie, that young ladies in the seventeenth 
century must have excelled those of the nineteenth 



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70 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

in heroic ardour. '" We doubt not, however, that under 
the pressure of circumstances, there are many young 
females of the present day, who, though tenderly- 
nurtured, would be animated by a heroism ;in facing 
danger quite (equal to that shewn by their predecessors 
centuries Ago. 



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STORY OF THE KEITHS. 



-A 



And I '11 be Lady Keith again, 
The day our king comes ower the water. 

•CUCH axe a couple of lines in a characteristic 
^ Jacobite ballad which Lady Keith is supposed to 
hopefulfy sing on the possible restoration of the dynasty 
that would replace her family in their ancient dignity 
and possessions. Attainder for accession to the rebellion 
of 1715 had ruined everything. The eldest son of 
a widowed mother, a youth of great promise, had for- 
feited patrimonial title and estates, and the only other 
son had been dragged into the general ruin. Prom 
affluence, the mother was reduced to obscurity, but 
sitting in her ' wee croo house/ spinning with the rock - 
a^4jeel, and sore at heart, she still derived some con- 
solation that the cause her family had espoused might, 
after .all, triumph, and that she and her sons would be 
restored to their original position. The ballad purports 
to have been composed by Lady Keith herself; but it 
is more probably the composition of James Hogg, in 
whose collection it first appeared ; its very beauty as a 
pathetic effusion suggesting its authorship. The plain- 
tive «air to wMch it is set resembles that of JTieJB^yne 



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/ 



72 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

Water. We propose to say something of the Keiths, 
and the domains of which they were dispossessed. 

In sailing northwards along the coast of Kincardine- 
shire, at a point where the land projects boldly into the 
German Ocean, a few miles before arriving at the thriving 
town of Stonehaven, we come in front of a dilapidated 
fortress, roofless and deserted, occupying the broad 
summit of a rocky eminence, and more like the ruins of 
a town, than a dismantled feudal stronghold. Such is 
Dunnottar Castle, a place famed in history, an old 
inheritance of the Keiths, and now only a resort for the 
screaming sea-mews which hover wildly about the cliffs. 
Like many other families of distinction in Scotland, the 
Keiths came into notice through military achievements. 
First, we hear of a Sir Robert Keith, for an exploit of 
this kind, being appointed hereditary Grand Marischal 
of Scotland; and in 1458, his descendant, Sir William 
Keith, was created Earl Marischal and Lord Keith. 
By-and-by, th'e originally small possessions of the family 
were swelled out to a magnificent scale, by marriage ; 
the bulk of the property being situated in Kincardine, 
Aberdeen, Banff, and some other northern counties. At 
the close of the seventeenth century, the family, with 
its headquarters at Dunnottar, was at the height of its 
glory. George, the fifth earl, taking a deep interest in 
the advancement of learning in the north, founded 
Marischal College, Aberdeen, 1593, and munificently 
endowed it as a university. This fact, which stands 
finely and uniquely out in the annals of the Scottish 
peerage, has, as may be supposed, permanently hallowed 
the fame of the Keiths Earls Marischal As an acces- 
sible centre of learning, the Marischal College (now 
merged in the University of Aberdeen) has amply 



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STOR Y OF THE KEITHS. 73 

realised the wishes of its founder, and remains a 
diffusive blessing in the northern part of the kingdom. 

The Keith Earl Marischal who flourished in the 
reign of Queen Anne, appears to have somewhat 
impaired the fortunes of the family by his magnificent 
style of living, and to have done his reputation little 
good by obstinately, and, as he thought, patriotically, 
protesting against the Act of Union. Despite his 
remonstrances, this salutary measure was carried, and 
henceforth he sinks into obscurity and dies, leaving 
a widow, Countess Keith, the songstress of the 
ballad, and two sons, George and James. There is 
some reason to think, that the misfortune into which 
the young men were plunged was in no small degree 
owing to their mother's uncompromising Jacobite pro- 
clivities. Of high birth, she had high notions of loyalty 
to the Stewarts, whose mad pranks in the person of 
James II. had forfeited the crown, never more to be 
recovered. The son of that infatuated monarch, the 
titular James III., dreamt, however, of regaining the lost 
inheritance, and made an attempt to do so in 17 15 ; so 
adding one more act of folly to a long catalogue of 
family blunders. Such was the rebellion got up under 
the Earl of Mar, and into which the countess enthusi- 
astically thrust her two sons ; the eldest, George Earl 
Marischal, being at the time only twenty-two years of 
age. At the batde of Sheriffrnuir, the two brothers had 
each the command of a squadron. Rather tardily, 
James arrived from France, and tried to revive the 
drooping hopes of his party, by marching southwards 
from Peterhead, taking with him Earl Marischal, who 
rode on his left hand in entering Dundee. As history 
tells, it was altogether an ill-managed affair. James was 



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74 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

glad to 'quit the country. His adherents were scattered ; 
Earl Marischal and his brother fled to the continent; 
the title and estates were forfeited. The countess, a 
primary cause of the family niination, remained in 
Scotland in some comparatively obscure way — ' sad and 
sal)bingf but -with as undaunted a spirit as ever. If 
(there be any tram in the ballad, it ^was fortunate she 
could console herself with a song for the loss of an earl- 
tiom ; but this was a species of consolation to which ike 
Jacobites of all ranks had a special aptitude. ^Wt leave 
ber singing in her *wee croo house/ to follow the 
fortunes of her two sons. 

It would be difficult to say which *>f the exiled 
Keiths possessed the nobler nature or the sounder 
understanding. They had been well educated, and, 
but for the unfortunate political escapade, -would bave 
been distinguished ornaments of society in their native 
country. To Britain they were lost The terrible 
reverse they had undergone transformed them into 
foreigners. We hear of them as playing an importarft 
r&le in Fiance, Spain, Germany, Russia, growing gray 
in the service of one country or other, admired and 
honoured for their ability and uprightness. Never was 
there a reproach on the Keiths. In England, there 
were regrets that men so estimable had by circum- 
stances been wafted so egregiously out of their proper 
sphere. 

In telling the story of the two brothers, we mrast at 
times speak of them separately ; for they clid not remain 
'together, and it happened that George, the elder, was 
*the survivor. Arriving in Paris, in May 17x6, their 
prospects were sufficiently dreary. James, who wrote 
^a fragment of his -autobiography, says that, for a time 



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STORY OF TJ/JS KEITHS. 75 

he lived by ^selling horse-furniture, and other things 
of that nature which an officer commonly carries with 
him j and though I had relations enough in Paris 
who -could have supplied me, and who would have 
done 3t with pleasure, yet I was then either so 
bashful, 'or so vain, that I *would not own the want 
I was 'in.* In this semi-destitute ^condition, the two 
brothers were induced to go to Spain, and take part 
m "a fresh expedition to recover the British crown for 
the Stewarts. This was the ill-fated attempt of 17 19* 
Landing at Storaoway, and crossing to Xoch Duich in 
the mainland, the parly were signally defeated at Glen- 
shiel^ the "Spanish troops concerned in the affair being 
taken prisoners of war. With some difficulty and hair- 
breadth escapes, the two Keiths got safely back to the 
continent. For some years, James led a wandering 
life, dependent on the good offices of friends. As a 
soldier <d fortune, and anxious for employment, he 
offered his services to Russia, and they were gladly 
accepted. This was about the year 1730, when Russia 
was making great efforts to improve and consolidate 
her naval and military system. As a brave and skilful 
general, Keith was appreciated for his services. But 
the business of encroaching on Polish and other nation- 
alities was distasteful to his sense of justice, and after 
snore than ten years of active military duty, he was fain 
'to quit the Russian service, and in 1747 entered that of 
Frederick the 'Great, of Prussia. General James Keith 
was now in his proper element By Frederick he was 
engaged in various important enterprises, and at length 
'was Taised to the dignity of Field-marshal. The career 
of Marshal Keith was of 110 long duration. In the 
•Seven Years' War, he performed brilliant acts of daring. 



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76 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

Ordered to maintain a particular position, he was killed 
by a cannon-shot at the battle of Hochkirchen in 1758. 

The career of the elder brother, who is uniformly 
spoken of as Earl Marischal, was of a more peaceful 
character. He was engaged . in various diplomatic 
missions, and esteemed for his urbanity and excellent 
business management Though not relinquishing his 
original political bias, he declined to take any part in 
the insurrection of 1745. Perhaps he was aware, from 
what he knew, and what he saw behind the scenes in 
France, that the affair was hopeless ; and it proved so. 
Like his brother, attaching himself to Frederick the 
Great, he was employed by him as ambassador to the 
court of France, and afterwards appointed governor of 
the canton of Neuchatel in Switzerland. Settling down 
in a rural mansion at Columbier — still shewn to English 
tourists — he became acquainted with Rousseau, who 
was pleased with his sedate. and simple manners ; and a 
friendship sprung up between the two, of which some 
notice appears in Rousseau's Confessions. Relinquish- 
ing his governorship, Earl Marischal was appointed 
ambassador to Spain. While in that country, he had 
an opportunity of doing a piece of useful diplomatic 
service for England, which secured him the favour of 
the Earl of Chatham, through whose influence the act 
of attainder against him was reversed, 25th May 1759, 
and he could now return with safety to his native 
country. Recalled at his own request from Spain, he 
visited England, and was graciously received by George 
II., who gave him the right to draw the sum of three 
thousand six hundred and eighteen pounds, which was 
yet unpaid by the purchasers of his estates. 

Here was an entire change of circumstances. The 



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STORY OF THE KEITHS. 77 

Earl Marischal had it now in his power to purchase 
back some of the properties of which his family had 
been bereft. He made excursions into Scotland, was 
received everywhere with tokens of respect and affec- 
tion, and he actually bought some of the heritages that 
had belonged to his family. But after so long an absence 
from his original haunts, he felt himself as a visitor to a 
strange land. His mother, the songstress of the ballad, 
had passed away, without seeing a restoration of the 
family honours. Her anticipations that the king would 
'come ower the water/ and restore matters to their 
old condition, had lamentably failed. The sight of 
one of his castles in ruins affected him to tears. He 
could not make for himself a home even in the district 
where he was held in the highest esteem. The king of 
Prussia pressed him in eager terms to return. ' Come,' 
said he, ' to ease, to friendship, and philosophy ; these 
are what, after the battle of life, we must all have 
recourse to.' He obeyed the summons; and to be 
near His Majesty, he was given a house adjoining the 
gardens of Sans Souci. At this charming spot, Earl 
Marischal Keith reached the end of his earthly pil- 
grimage. He died serenely on the 28th May 1778. 

Neither of the brothers had married. The circum- 
stance of being a Protestant placed an insuperable bar 
to the Earl MarischaTs alliance with a French lady, who 
subsequently, not without a pang of regret for the loss 
of ' dear Milord Mare'chal,' became the wife of Mon- 
sieur de Cre'quy. It was not till many years afterwards, 
when Madame de Cre'quy had grandchildren, and Earl 
Marischal was in his seventieth year, that the two saw 
each other. What were their mutual sensations on 
beholding the changes that time had wrought ? Keith 



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78 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

presented her with some French verses on the beauty of 
white hairs, which he had written on purpose for the 
occasion. She wrote of the interview as follows :. 'When 
we met again, after the lapse of many years-, we made a 
discovery which equally surprised and affected us both. 
There is a world of difference between the love which 
had endured throughout a lifetime, and that which 
burned fiercely in our youth and then paused. In the 
latter case, time has not laid bare defects, nor taught the 
bitter lesson of mutual failings : a delusion has subsisted 
on both sides, which experience has destroyed; and 
delighting in the idea of each other's perfections, that 
thought has seemed to smile on both with inexpressible 
sweetness, till, when we meet in gray old age, feelings 
so tender, so pure, so solemn, arise, that they can. be 
compared to no other sentiments or impressions of 
which our nature is capable.' What a pity that Madame 
de Cre'quy was so inexorably prevented from becoming 
the consort of 'Milord Mare'dial,' and so probably 
perpetuating a lineage that sunk and was extinguished ! 
The admirer and munificent patron of the Keiths is 
seen to have been Frederick the Great The loss of 
Field-marshal James Keith at the battle of Hochkirchen 
was deeply mourned by him, and he caused a character- 
istic figure of the marshal, in white- marble, to be erected 
on a pedestal of red granite, to his memory in the 
Wilhelm Platz, Berlin. Here the story of the monument 
does not end. The original figure in marble having 
suffered by exposure to the weather, was afterwards 
removed, and a figure in bronze was put in its place. 
Believing that the dismissed marble monument might 
be procured for Peterhead, a private individual in that 
town, in 1865, agitated the question. A communication 



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STOR F OF THE KEITH'S. 79. 

from the town-council to the Prussian government 
ensued. The marble statue of Marshal Keith, like that; 
of other heroesr of the Seven Years' War, had been set 
up within the walls of the Military School of Berlin, 
and could not be withdrawn ; but His Majesty William 
I., Emperor of Germany, had been pleased to order 
a fac-simile of the bronze monument to be prepared and 
despatched for the acceptance of the Peterhead author^ 
ties. The cast arrived safely, October 1868, and placed 
on a pedestal, adorns a place of public resort in Peter- 
head. The figure, in cocked-hat and military costume 
of the period, is peculiarly effective, and with its appro- 
priate inscription, visibly reminds the inhabitants of an 
ancient family, who once owned an extensive inheri- 
tance in the district, 'and whose memory is still fondly 
cherished. 

At the upbreak of the Earl Marischars estates, conse- 
quent on the forfeiture, large portions were purchased 
for redistribution by the York Buildings and other 
public companies. Among those to whom lands were 
thus subsequently disposed of, were the governors of 
the Merchant Maiden Hospital of Edinburgh — an 
institution for educating the daughters of merchants in 
decayed circumstances. Their purchases, which com- 
prehended the estate of Peterhead, took place at several 
times beginning with 1728, at a united cost of ^8814. 
But this was the smallest part of the outlay. Under the 
spirited direction of these new proprietors, acting as 
trustees, as much as the sum of ^43,905 was • first and 
last expended in improvements, raising the total outlay 
to nearly ^53,000. In the course of time the rental 
has risen from a few hundreds of pounds to about 
^4400 per, annum, while the valuation of the estate 



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80 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

in 1861 was moderately estimated at ^98,365 — a 
striking, but far from unusual instance of what has been 
effected in raising the value of heritable property in 
Scotland, through sound administration, and a condition 
of settled peace and security. Could the Keiths have 
foreseen the vast educational benefits that were to be 
imparted by the Peterhead portion of their estates, they 
would have been satisfied that the old inheritance could 
not be devoted to more worthy, more publicly useful 
purposes. 



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STORY OF LADY GRANGE. 



y 



T N the western environs of Edinburgh lies the estate 
A of Dairy, once entirely rural, with a spacious 
mansion situated in a park, and sheltered on the north 
by a grove of tall trees. The property is now almost 
covered with houses, intersected with streets, and cut up 
with a line of railway. 

In the days of its rural beauty, towards the end of the 
seventeenth century, Dairy belonged to a person named 
Chiesley, a man of considerable ability, but with violent 
passions, and indeed not altogether sane. He was one 
of those contentious beings with whom it is dangerous 
to have any dealings, particularly where money is con- 
cerned. Chiesley was married. He had a wife and 
children, and he used them so badly that they were 
forced to leave him. Their desertion he did not mind, 
but he felt dreadfully annoyed at the idea of their 
claiming from him some means of subsistence. His 
wife's claim for a separate maintenance threw him into 
a rage, and the rage rose to a kind of frenzy when she 
appealed to the law for an aliment The Court of 
Session granted an allowance of ninety-three pounds 
per annum, chargeable on the estate of Dairy. The 

F 



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82 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

judge chiefly concerned in giving this reasonable and 
humane decision was the Lord President^ Sir George 
Lockhart 

Chiesley meditated revenge. The Lord President, 
as he considered, had done him a wrong, and he did 
not hesitate to avow openly that he would have ven- 
geance. He even wrote a threatening letter to his lord- 
ship. Strangely enough, the President took no notice 
of his threats, possibly looking upon them with pity 
and contempt Knowing the character of the man, he 
ought not to have been so indulgent Even in our own 
times, however, we are not without an instance of fatal 
indifference to the denunciations of a madman. For an 
imaginary offence, Bellingham threatened Mr Perceval 
with vengeance, and was suffered to go at large until he 
assassinated that unfortunate minister. The case of 
Chiesley and the Lord President closely resembled 
that of Bellingham and Mr Perceval. 

We are to throw ourselves in imagination back to the 
state of affairs in Edinburgh shortly after the Revolu- 
tion. The Stewarts are dethroned, but the castle still 
holds out for the exiled family. The town is full of the 
troops of the new government. It is Sunday morning, 
the 31st of March 1689. Divine service in the several 
churches into which St Giles* is. divided, is about to 
begin. At the door of one of these churches, where 
the Lord President has his seat, hovers moodily a tall 
gentleman wearing a cocked-hat, with one of his hands 
thrust into the pocket of his coat, and grasping a loaded 
pistol. It is Chiesley of Dairy. He enters the church, 
and offers the beadle money to place him in a seat 
immediately behind that of the Lord President; but 
the pew is already filled, and he has to go to another 



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STORY OF LADY GRANGE. 8j 

part of the church. Chiesle/s intention was to shoot 
his victim in the very middle of the service, and it was 
only by the accident of the pew being occupied that he 
could not carry out his design. 

At the conclusion of the service, the madmari, for we 
must call him so, preceded the Lord President to the 
head of the Old Bank Close, a lane situated within less 
than a hundred yards of the church. It was in this 
lane that his lordship resided. While he was walking 
down towards his dwelling, talking to some friends, 
Chiesleycame behind him and shot him through the 
back; the bullet going in beneath the right shoulder, 
and out at the left breast The President immediately 
turned about, looked the murderer mournfully in the 
face, and then finding himself falling, he leant to the 
wall, and asked his friends to hold him. He was 
carried to his own house, and was almost dead before 
he reached it His wife hearing the shot and a cry in 
the close, rushed out, and took the body in her arms, 
but immediately swooned. The assassin did not offer 
to flee. He owned the fact, and was carried off to 
prison. Chiesley was tried by the magistrates for 
murder, condemned, and was hanged at the Cross of 
Edinburgh, with the pistol depending from his neck, 
and his body was thereafter hung in chains at Drum- 
sheuch. This latter indignity was too much for his 
friends. They stole away the body, and buried it 
underneath the hearthstone of a cottage at Dairy. 
There, a skeleton, along with the remains of a pistol, 
were found in recent times, in the course of some 
alterations. 

We have recalled this tragical occurrence as prelimi- 
nary to the story of a lady, the daughter of Chiesley, on 



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84 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

whose character some light is thrown by the conduct of 
her father. 

Rachel Chiesley made what many thought a better 
marriage than could have been expected by the daughter 
of an executed felon, even although that felon had been 
a landed gentleman. She was married to James Erskine 
of Grange, an advocate at the Scottish bar, and brother 
of the Earl of Mar, who was attainted for the part he 
took in the rebellion of 17 15. It was a daring thing for 
Erskine to ally himself to her, for she was known to 
have a violent temper, and to be somewhat irregular in 
her habits. The marriage took place about 1707, the 
year in which Erskine was rai$ed to be a judge in the 
Court of Session, when he assumed the judicial title of 
Lord Grange. A judge's wife does not by usage take 
the title of lady, and why Mrs Erskine should have 
been habitually styled Lady Grange has never received 
a proper explanation. As Lady Grange she has always 
been spoken of, and so too we will call her. For some 
years the married pair lived pretty harmoniously. Some- 
times there were bickerings, but they were smoothed 
over by the husband temporising as well as he could 
with his wife's unfortunate infirmity. They lived in a 
house in Edinburgh, situated in a court at the foot of 
Niddry's Wynd, a broadish alley leading from the High 
Street, near the site of the present Niddry Street. There 
they had a family of children, and kept up a stylish way 
of living. 

At length there was discord — open war — in the house- 
hold. According to the account of the lady, there had 
been love and peace for twenty-five years, when all at 
once Lord Grange took a dislike to her, and would no 
longer live with her : they must, he said, live separately, 



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STOR Y OF LAD Y GRANGE. 85 

he giving her a maintenance of a hundred a year. 
Forced to agree to this arrangement, in 1730 the lady 
was sent to reside in the country— discharged from ever 
setting her foot in Niddry's Wynd. If she did, it would 
be the worse for her. The hundred a year would be 
stopped. The account of matters by Lord Grange 
differed very materially from that of his wife. He said 
he had suffered long from her unsubduable rage and 
madness, and had failed in all his efforts to bring her 
to a reasonable conduct. It is too probable that the 
latter statement is the true one ; although were it more 
so, it would still leave Lord Grange unjustifiable in 
the measures he took with respect to his wife. It is 
traditionally stated, that in their unhappy quarrels, the 
lady fiercely reminded his lordship whose daughter she 
was — darkly hinting that she could resort to means of 
vengeance like her father, and little more would induce 
her to do so. Grange became alarmed for his personal 
safety, and no wonder. But he had other grounds for 
apprehension. He had carried on some intercourse 
with Jacobites disaffected to the government, and this 
the lady had it in her power to make known, and which, 
if revealed, would at least have compromised his posi- 
tion as a judge. One can with difficulty be brought to 
believe that a wife would deliberately and maliciously 
try to ruin one whom by a solemn vow she is bound to 
love, honour, and obey. But such things are. The 
daughter of Chiesley of Dairy, in her mad imaginings, 
was fit for this degree of heartlessness and villainy. 

Random accusations without proof would have been 
of little availi The lady had a document in her posses- 
sion to prove that her husband was a traitor. In the 
statement of Lord Grange, he tells us that some time 



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-86 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

before the separation, he had gone to London to arrange 
the private affairs of the Countess of Mar, then become 
unable to conduct them herself, and he had sent an 
account of his procedure to his wife, including some 
reflections on Sir Robert Walpole, who had thwarted 
him much, and been of serious detriment to the interests 
of his family* This document she retained, and she 
threatened to take it to London, and use it for her 
husband's disadvantage, being supported in the design 
t>y several persons with whom she associated. While 
•denying that he had been concerned in anything trea- 
sonable, Lord Grange says, ' he had already too great a 
load of that great minister Walpole's wrath on his back, 
to stand still and see more of it fall upon him by 
treachery and madness of such a wife and such con- 
federates.' 

Rather an unpleasant posture of affairs this for Lord 
Grange. He had a faint hope that things might mend. 
Her ladyship might calm down. She had gone to the 
country, and a sight of the beauties of nature — the 
birds, the trees, and the flowers, to say nothing of the 
hundred a year, might work wonders on that troubled 
brain. It was a vain expectation. Lady Grange soon 
became tired of the country. It was dull andj stupid. 
There was nobody to speak to who understood her 
exalted notions. Careless of forfeiting her hundred 
a year, back she came to town, and, like a fury let 
loose, exhibited herself in the antique court at Niddry's 
Wynd. There she was, flourishing about with her arms, 
haranguing porters, chairmen, and footmen as to her 
wrongs, and declaring how she would shew up and 
finish her husband to his lasting disgrace and ruin. We 
can fancy the horror of Lord Grange in looking out of 



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STORY OF LADY. GRANGE. 87 

window upon the uproar in the little court, and seeing 
his wife declaiming to the party-coloured multitude. 
4 The Guard/ an old-fashioned military police in the army 
uniform of George L, was, of course, sent for, on which 
she vanished, but was never long in again coming 
upon the scene. She stamped, she raved, shouted at 
the windows, followed his lordship in the street, and 
behaved altogether like a maniac What was to be done? 

Lord Grange could have stood the stamping and 
raving, and borne a good deal besides, but the demoniac 
threat to report him to Walpole was in his point of view 
more than flesh and blood could bear. It was the last 
feather that breaks the horse's back. Now for prompt 
measures. No one can justify what he did. It was 
illegal, and for one in the position of a judge, it was 
disgraceful. Instead of seeking the protection of the 
law, he arbitrarily resolved, to get his wife carried off 
by force, and furtively sent into exile. He called it 
4 sequestrating her ; ' the proper term was robbing her of 
her liberty, and this outrage he was able to effect by 
concerting measures with a number of Highland chiefs, 
including the notorious Lord Lovat, who above all had 
reason to apprehend certain political disclosures. The 
whole affair gives us a startling insight into the condi- 
tion of society in the first half of the eighteenth century. 
All preparations were made for the abduction. 

On the evening of the 2 2d of January 1732, a party 
of Highlanders, wearing the livery of Lord Lovat, made 
their way into the lodgings of Lady Grange. Forcibly 
seizing her, throwing her down and gagging her, and 
then tying a cloth over her head, they carried her off 
as if she had been a corpse. At the bottom of the 
stair was a chair containing a man, who took the 



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88 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

hapless lady upon his knees, and held her fast in his 
arms till they had got to a place in the outskirts of the 
town. There they took her from the chair, removed 
the cloth from her head, and mounted her upon a 
horse behind a man, to whom she was tied; after 
which the party rode off * all by the light of the moon/ 
to quote the language of the old ballads, whose inci- 
dents the present story resembles in character. 

If we can believe her own account, Lady Grange 
experienced no very gentle treatment. The leader of 
the gang, Mr Forster of Corsebonny, though a gentle- 
man by station, would not allow her to stop for the 
relief of a cramp in her side, and only answered by 
ordering a. servant to renew the bandages over her 
mouth. After a ride of nearly twenty miles, they 
stopped at Muiravonside, the house of Mr John Macleod, 
advocate, where servants appeared waiting to receive 
the lady ; and thus it is shewn that the master of the 
house had been engaged to aid in her abduction. She 
was taken up-stairs to a comfortable bedroom ; but a 
man being posted in the room as a guard, she could 
not go to bed or take any repose. In this manner she 
spent the ensuing day, and when it was night, she was 
taken out and remounted in the same fashion as before; 
and the party then rode along through the Torwood, 
and so to. the place called Wester Polmaise, belonging 
to a gentleman of the name of Stewart, whose steward 
or factor was one of the cavalcade. Here was an 
old tower, having one little room on each floor, as 
is usually the case in such buildings; and into one 
of these rooms, the window of which was boarded over, 
the lady was conducted. She continued here for thirteen 
or fourteen weeks, supplied with a sufficiency of the 



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STOR Y OF LADY GRANGE. 89 

comforts of life, but never allowed to go into the 
open air; till at length her health gave way, and the 
factor began to fear being concerned in her death. By 
his intercession with Mr Forster, she was then permitted 
to go into the court, under a guard ; but such was the 
rigour of her keepers, that she was not permitted to 
walk in the garden. 

Thus time passed drearily on until the month of 
August, during all which time the prisoner had no 
communication with the external world. At length, 
by an arrangement made between Lord Lovat and Mr 
Forster, at the house of the latter, near Stirling, Lady 
Grange was one night forcibly brought out, and 
mounted again as formerly, and carried off amidst 
a guard of horsemen. She recognised several of Lovat's 
people in this troop, and found Forster once more 
in command. They passed by Stirling Bridge, and 
thence onward to the Highlands; but she no longer 
knew the way they were going. Before daylight they 
stopped at a house, where she was lodged during the 
day, and at night the march was resumed. Thus they 
journeyed for several days into the Highlands, never 
allowing the unfortunate lady to speak, and taking the 
most rigid care to prevent any one from becoming 
aware of her situation. During this time she never 
had off her clothes. One day she slept in a barn, 
another in an open inclosure. Regard to delicacy in 
such a case was impossible. After a fortnight spent 
at a house on Lord Lovat's ground (probably in Strath- 
errick, Inverness-shire), the journey was renewed in 
the same style as before ; only Mr Forster had retired 
from the party, and the lady found herself entirely 
in the hands of Frasers. 



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90 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

They now crossed a loch into Glengarry's land, 
where they lodged several nights in cow-houses, or in 
the open air, making progress all the time to the west- 
ward, where the country becomes extremely wild. At 
Lochourn, an arm of the sea on the west coast, the 
unfortunate lady was transferred to a small vessel 
which was in waiting for her. Bitterly did she weep, 
and pitifully implore compassion ; but the Highlanders 
understood not her language ; and though they had 
done so, a departure from the orders which had been 
given them was not to be expected from men of their 
character. In the vessel, she found that she was in 
the custody of Alexander Macdonald, a tenant of one 
of the Western Islands named Heskir, belonging to Sir 
Alexander Macdonald of Sleat 

The unfortunate lady remained in Macdonald's charge 
at Heskir nearly two years — during the first year with- 
out once seeing bread, and with no supply of clothing i 
obliged, in fact, to live in the same miserable way 
as the rest of the family ; afterwards some little indul- 
gence was shewn to her. This island was of desolate 
aspect, and had no inhabitant besides Macdonald and 
his wife. The wretchedness of such a situation for a 
lady who had been all her life accustomed to the 
refined society of a capital, may easily be imagined. 
, In June 1734, a sloop came to Heskir to take away 
the lady ; it was commanded by a Macleod, and in it 
she was conveyed to the remotest spot of ground 
connected with the British Islands — namely, the isle 
of St Kilda, the property of the chief of Macleod, and 
remarkable for the simple character of the poor peasantry 
who occupy it. There cannot, of course, be a doubt^ 
that those who had an interest in the seclusion of Lady 



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STORY OF LADY GRANGE. 9* 

Grange, regarded this as a more eligible place than 
Heskir, in as far as it was more out of the way, and 
promised better for her complete and permanent con- 
finement In some respects it was an advantageous 
change for the lady : the place was not uninhabited, as 
Heskir very nearly was ; and her domestic accommoda- 
tion was better. In St Kilda she was placed in a house 
or cottage of two small apartments, tolerably well 
furnished, with a girl to wait upon her, and provided 
with a sufficiency of good food and clothing. Of edu- 
cated persons the island contained not one, except for 
a short time a clergyman, named Roderick Maclennan. 
There was hardly even a person capable of speaking or 
understanding the English language within reach. No 
books, no intelligence from the world in which she 
had once lived. Only once a year did a steward come 
to collect the rent paid in kind by the poor people ; 
and by him was the lady regularly furnished with a 
store of such articles, foreign to the place, as she needed 
— usually a stone of sugar, a pound of tea, six pecks 
of wheat, and an anker of spirits. Thus she had no 
lack of the common necessaries of life : she only wanted 
society and freedom. In this way she spent seven 
dreary years in St Kilda. We learn that she was kind 
to the inhabitants, giving them from her own stores; 
and sometimes had the women to come and dance 
before her ; but her temper and habits were not such as 
to gain their esteem. Often she drank too much ; and 
whenever any one near her committed the slightest 
mistake, she would fly into a furious passion, and even 
resort to violence. Once she was detected in an 
attempt, during the night, to obtain a pistol from above 
the steward's bed, in the room next to her own : on 



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92 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

his awaking and seeing her, she ran off to her own bed. 
One is disposed, of course, to make all possible allow- 
ances for a person in her wretched circumstances ; yet 
there can be little doubt, from the evidence before us, 
that it was a natural and habitual violence of temper 
which displayed itself during her residence in St Kilda. 

Meanwhile it was known in Edinburgh that Lady 
Grange had been forcibly carried away and placed in 
seclusion by orders of her husband; but her whereabouts 
was a mystery to all besides a few who were concerned 
to keep it secret Moved by political ambition, Mr 
Erskine gave up his seat on the bench in 1734, and 
went into parliament as member for Clackmannanshire. 
He had hopes of distinguishing himself in opposition to 
Sir Robert Walpole; but he ruined all at his first 
appearance, by a display of oratory against the proposal 
to abolish the statutes against witchcraft Affecting a 
pious horror of necromancy, he maintained that witches 
ought not to be suffered to live, for such was the injunc- 
tion of Scripture. For this fanatical harangue he was 
laughed at by Walpole, and simply finished himself as a 
politician. 

The world had wondered at the events of his domestic 
life, and several persons denounced the singular means 
he had adopted for obtaining domestic peace. But, in 
the main, he stood as well with society as he had ever 
done. At length, in the winter of 1740, a communica- 
tion from Lady Grange for the first time reached her 
friends. Her letter, written from St Kilda, and dated 
January 20, 1738, had taken two years to reach Edin- 
burgh. It was addressed to the Solicitor-general, gives 
a narrative of her sufferings, and concludes with the 
piteous appeal : * When this comes to you, if you hear I 



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STOR Y OF LAD Y GRANGE. 93 

am alive, do me justice, and relieve me. I beg you make 
all haste; but if you hear I am dead, do what you think 
right before God.' She subscribes herself Rachel Erskine. 
The letter still exists. It is fairly written, though 
with defective orthography, and has been exhibited as 
a curiosity at a meeting of the Society of Antiquaries 
ofScodand. In it, she says that, if she had paper, she 
would write to one of her friends, Lord Dun; from 
which, it would appear that she had had a difficulty in 
procuring so much as a single sheet of letter-paper. 
This interesting communication was brought by the 
minister Maclennan and his wife, who had left St Kilda 
in discontent, after quarrelling with Macleod's steward. 
The idea of a lady by birth and education being 
immured for a series of years in an outlandish place 
where only the most illiterate people resided, and this 
by the command of a husband who could only complain 
of her irritable temper, struck forcibly upon public feel- 
ing, and particularly upon the mind of Lady Grange's 
legal agent, Mr Hope of Rankeillor, who had all along 
felt a keen interest in her fate. Of Mr Hope it may 
be remarked that he was also a zealous Jacobite ; yet, 
though all the persons engaged in the lady's abduction 
were of that party, he hesitated not to take active 
measures on the contrary side. He immediately applied 
for a warrant to search for and liberate Lady Grange* 
This application was opposed by the friends of Mr 
Erskine, and eventually it was defeated ; yet he was not 
on that account deterred from hiring a vessel, and 
sending it with armed men to secure the freedom of 
the lady — a step which, as it was illegal and dangerous, 
obviously implied no small risk on his own part. It 
came to nothing. 



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5Bf STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

The poor lady, however, was not destined to end her 
days in the remote island of St Kilda. The attempt to 
rescue her, though abortive, possibly stimulated Erskine 
and his political confederates to hide her in some new 
and secret place of confinement She was removed to 
the mainland, in Ross-shire, and there, after undergoing 
a few more years of rigorous seclusion, she died in May 
1745. She had been illegally detained for upwards of 
twelve years — a circumstance reflecting great discredit 
on the public authorities who had been made aware of 
her case. Erskine, her miserably intriguing husband, 
spoke lightly of her decease, and, indeed, viewed it as 
being in the character of a reliet His latter days were 
in strange contrast with his former position as a judge. 
He lived in not a very reputable way in a mean lodging 
in the Haymarket, Westminster. There he died in 
1754, and was not regretted. 

Such, in brief, without the varnish of fiction, is the 
story of Lady Grange, the daughter of Chiesley, whose 
mental peculiarities she had to a certain extent inherited. 
At the time she lived, there were no other ostensible 
means of restraint for persons in her unhappy condition, 
than the common prison, or Bedlam with its straw and 
its chains. How much reason have we to congratulate 
ourselves on* the improved humanity that provides 
asylums with gentle treatment for the safety, and it may 
be the recovery of those on whom has been laid the 
heavy affliction of mental disorder ! 



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STORY OF LADY JANE DOUGLAS. 



TN the year 1700, died James, second Marquis of 
A Douglas, leaving a son, Archibald, and a daughter, 
jane. Both were still young. Lady Jane was born in 
1698, and was only three years old at the death of 
her father. Archibald, of course, succeeded as third 
Marquis. We are to contemplate the brother and 
sister as being reared in a manner suitable to their birth 
and the ancient traditions of the family. According to 
their years, they mingled with the higher Scottish 
aristocracy; and, to all appearance, there was before 
them a brilliant future. What might not be expected 
from the heirs of the House of Douglas ! As if Fortune 
had determined to ' buckle fortune on his back/ Archi- 
bald was created Duke of Douglas in 1703. Though a 
young man, he was now, as we may say, ' at the top of 
the tree.' There was, however, something perverse, or 
unfortunate in the fate of the brother and sister. They 
did not, as one might expect, drop readily into matri- 
mony. The Duke grew up a bachelor, and Lady Jane, 
to the general surprise, refused the offer of the Duke of 
Buccleuch, a young nobleman of the most agreeable 
manners. Her Ladyship was handsome in person, and 



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96 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

remarkably affable, but is said to have been eccentric 
in her notions. By way of frolic, when twenty-three 
years of age, she went off on an excursion dressed in 
men's clothes. One of her weaknesses consisted in 
making a confidant of a waiting-woman named Helen 
Hewit, who, though faithful to her throughout, could 
not be considered a proper adviser or companion to a 
lady of quality. 

Similar in their unmarried condition, the Duke and 
Lady Jane entertained a mutual and proper regard for 
each other ; and so matters went on for a number of 
years. How there should have sprung up any change 
in this brotherly and sisterly affection, is not easy to 
understand, unless we conceive that her Ladyship had 
given some grave offence by her conduct At all events, 
there arose an estrangement, and so far as the Duke was 
concerned, the estrangement ended in positive hatred 
and ill-will. A very unpleasant state of affairs this for 
Lady Jane, who depended entirely on an annuity of 
three hundred pounds a year granted by her brother, 
and which was terminable at his pleasure. She cannot 
be said, however, to have acted discreedy in the circum- 
stances. Perhaps she was bitterly unhappy, and in her 
unhappiness clung to one she authorised to be her pro- 
tector. In 1746, at the mature age of forty-eight, with 
the connivance of Hewit, she secretly eloped with and 
married Mr John Stewart, a younger brother of Sir 
George Stewart, Bart, of Grandtully. He had been 
already married, and was a widower, with a surviving 
son. What were the recommendations of Mr Stewart, 
it would be hard to say. He was usually styled Colonel 
Stewart, but that was only a convenient travelling name. 
He had no fortune, no profession, nor aptitude for 



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STORY OF LADY JANE DOUGLAS. 97 

earning a livelihood : just one of those genteel hangers- 
on who, in virtue of good connections, contrive to live 
in handsome style by running up bills with tailors, boot- 
makers, lodging-house keepers, and others disposed to 
give them credit. Lady Jane was certainly wrong in 
hurrying into this connection. She was marrying into 
misery ; but is that not done every day from some silly 
notion of defying friends, and shewing a spirit of inde- 
pendence ! The reasons why women marry into obvious 
and lifelong misery, who might otherwise have passed a 
tolerably agreeable existence, are past finding out 

The Duke was enraged at the elopement and marriage 
of his sister ; for she had let it be understood that she 
was going away only for a short time for the sake of her 
health. Leaving His Grace in a state of resentment, 
we must follow the fortunes of Lady Jane. Quitting 
her old haunts and acquaintances, she plunged with her 
husband into a wild round of social and financial diffi- 
culties. Their whole resources consisted in the allow- 
ance of three hundred pounds a year from the Duke, 
but what was that to maintain the expenditure of persons 
who never had earned a shilling, and knew little of 
squaring outlay with a narrowly restricted income? 
Taking Hewit with them, they went first to Holland, 
next they resided for a time at Aix-la-Chapelle, and 
lastly proceeded to France, where, having remained till 
1749, they returned to and took up their residence in 
London. 

Now commences the romance of the story. Lady 
Jane and Mr Stewart brought with them two male 
infants, who, they said, were born as twins to them 
in Paris on the 10th July 1748. Keeping in mind 
that Lady Jane was in her fifty-first year at the date 

G 



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98 STORIES OP OLD FAMILIES. 

of the alleged twin-birth, there was something strange 
in the circumstance; but about it there was no imme- 
diate fracas. For what anybody knew, the Duke of 
Douglas might marry and have a direct heir to his titles 
and estates. Meanwhile, in a fit of anger, the Duke 
had stopped the annual allowance to Lady Jane, and 
in London she and her husband were in the direst 
penury. Coming within the clutch of the law, Stewart 
was thrown into the King's Bench prison by his 
creditors. Literally destitute, Lady Jane influenced 
some friends to apply to government for relief, and a 
pension was obtained for her of three hundred pounds 
a year. Nevertheless, whether from sheer mismanage- 
ment, or the pressure of clamorous creditors, she was 
put to great straits, and was on several occasions 
obliged to pawn her clothes and other trifling effects 
for bare subsistence. While Mr Stewart was in prison, 
she lived some time at Chelsea. Her two alleged 
children were with her; and from the references to 
them in the letters to and fro between her and her 
husband, there could only be inferred a genuine 
parental affection. 

Distressed and regretful, Lady Jane bethought herself 
of endeavouring to move the compassion of her brother. 
She accordingly went to Scotland in 1752, taking the 
children and the servant, Hewit, with her, in the hope 
of effecting a reconciliation. The Duke would not so 
much as see her. Leaving the children in Edinburgh 
with the servant, she returned to London. Here, while 
attending on her husband, intelligence arrives of the 
deatt^ of the youngest of the twins, Sholto Thomas 
Stewart, on the 14th May 1753. Deeply affected, she 
returns to Edinburgh — a dreary journey of six days and 



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STORY OF LADY JANE DOUGLAS. 99* 

nights in a stage-coach — tries once more to effect a 
reconciliation with her brother; but all her efforts in 
this direction are vain. Impoverished, broken down in 
health, and we might say, heart-broken, Lady Janer 
dies among strangers, and is for ever at rest from 
her troubles. Death clears all scores. The Duke of 
Douglas had left his sister to die obscurely in a garret 
But it was right and proper she should have a funeral 
befitting her rank and ancestry. She was buried in the 
Chapel-Royal of Holyrood, November 1753. The dust 
of Lady Jane mingles with that of nobles and princes. 

Archibald Stewart, the elder of the two children, a 
boy about five years of age, now remained, and was 
taken in charge by a Lady Schaw, from feelings of 
humanity; for he was literally destitute. His father, 
who had never been able to keep himself, got out of 
his difficulties, by the death of his brother, the baronet, 
in 1759, when he succeeded to the tide, and the estate 
of Grandtully. After all, there was some good about 
Stewart, for one of his first acts of administration, on 
coming into the baronetcy, was to execute a bond of 
provision for upwards of ^25 00 for the boy, Archibald, 
whom he frankly designated as his son by Lady Jane 
Douglas. 

The Duke, who disbelieved Lady Jane's story about 
the birth of the two children, married in 1758. His 
Duchess, a lady of good understanding and amiable 
disposition, endeavoured to remove his hostility to 
young Stewart, in whose legitimacy she entertained no 
doubt, but without effect To avoid a permanent 
domestic quarrel, she was forced to remain silent on 
the subject The Duke did not long survive his 
marriage. Seized with a mortal distemper, His Grace 



334923B 

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100 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

died in 1761, without issue. By his decease, without 
direct male heirs, the dukedom was extinct The 
marquisate devolved on the young Duke of Hamilton, 
in virtue of his direct male descent from the first 
Marquis. 

Possessing the power to will away his immense 
estates, though not his titles, the Duke had executed 
-a- deed of entail in favour of the heirs whatsoever of 
the body of his father, James, Marquis of Douglas, 
>vith remainder to Lord Douglas Hamilton, brother to 
the Duke of Hamilton. This entail, or will, if we may 
<call it so, left the law to determine who were the 
proper heirs. By the public generally, it was thought 
that the boy Archibald Stewart must necessarily be the 
heir to the estates of his uncle. It was known that 
the Duke had quarrelled with his sister in consequence 
of her imprudent runaway marriage, but the legitimacy 
of her surviving son had not been legally disputed, and 
it was but reasonable he should enter into possession 
of the family property. Such in an especial manner 
was the opinion of the Duchess-Dowager of Douglas, 
the Duke and Duchess of Queensberry, and other 
influential personages, a number of whom, acting as 
guardians of the youth, took care to have him judi- 
cially served heir in proper form. To this preliminary 
measure, an opposition was presented on behalf of the 
guardians of the Duke of Hamilton. They contested 
the legitimacy of the youth, and, in fact, alleged that 
he was a downright impostor. Now began that memor- 
- able litigation, the great Douglas Cause, of which we 
shall try to give some intelligible account 

This extraordinary legal combat began in the superior 
Scotch court, but it was too important, from the vast 



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STOlt Y OF LAD Y JANE DOUGLAS. tor 

interests at stake, and from the feelings that were 
invoked, not to float, by appeal, to the House cf 
Lords. There was a long contest, in the first place, 
in the Court of Session, then comprehending fifteen 
judges, some of them profound jurists, and otherwise 
noted for their attainments. The case was calculated 
to puzzle the acutest lawyers, for the evidence was 
strangely conflicting — in fact, a bundle of contradic- 
tions. Unfortunately, the leading persons in the drama 
had passed away. Lady Jane had died in 1753. Her 
husband, Sir John Stewart, died in 1764, while the case 
was in litigation. Unable to be examined judicially, 
he, a short time before his decease, emitted a solemn 
declaration, before respectable witnesses, to the effect 
that Archibald Stewart was his son, by his wife, Lady 
Jane]Douglas. 

The principal witness on behalf of the claimant was 
Mrs Hewit, now well advanced in life. She maintained 
that Lady Jane was duly delivered of twins on the 10th 
July 1748. The births took place in the house of 
Madame le Brun, Faubourg St-Germain, Paris. The 
professional accoucheur on the occasion was M. Pierre 
la Marr. Shortly after the births, Lady Jane was 
removed to a more convenient lodging. When she 
was able to travel, she went with her husband to 
Rheims, taking the elder twin with them, and there the 
boy was baptised with extraordinary ceremony, and 
tokens of public rejoicing. The younger infant being 
weakly, was left in charge of a nurse near Paris. 
Subsequently, both the children were brought to Eng- 
land by their parents, who treated them always with 
proper affection. Such, in substance, was Mrs Hewit's 
account of matters ; but, beset and cross-questioned, 



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102 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

she contradicted herself in several particulars, and left 
doubts as to her veracity. Some letters and papers 
were produced in support of her view of the case, but 
they were not quite satisfactory. In arguing the case, 
stress was laid on the circumstance, that although Lady 
Jane had committed imprudences, she was above being 
chargeable with wilful fraud and imposition. She might 
have been giddy and thoughtless, but would not have 
concocted and deliberately supported a gross falsehood 
— all which was plausible, but not legally convincing. 

The case for the opposition was carefully matured. 
A law-agent named Andrew Stewart had been des- 
patched to Paris to search minutely into the truth of 
Hewit's statement To begin with, he could discover 
no such person as Madame le Brun. She seemed to be 
a pure invention. As for M. la Marr, he was dead, all 
his papers were destroyed, and his widow could give 
no satisfactory information respecting his professional 
engagements. Certain letters alleged to have been 
written by him to Stewart, were, to all appearance, 
forgeries, or at least had been written at Stewart's 
suggestion, in order to support the fraud. There was 
a still more perplexing fact M. Godfroi, keeper of an 
hotel in Paris, proved by his books, that Lady Jane and 
her husband lived in his house from the 4th to the 14th 
July 1748, and that no births had occurred during that 
period. Next came some remarkable evidence regarding 
the enlevement, or carrying away of two male infants 
surreptitiously from Paris. One of the children, taken 
away in July 1748, was the son of Mignon, a workman 
in a glass-manufactory. The other child (the younger 
of the alleged twins) was the son of a person named 
Sanry, and he was not carried off till early in 1749. It 



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STORY OF LAD Y JANE DOUGLAS. 103 

could not be said the children were stolen. Negotia- 
tions for acquiring them in the light of a loan or pur- 
chase were conducted through a woman who sold books 
at the door of Notre-Dame, and an Englishman was 
described as being an active agent in the transaction. 

The evidence elicited regarding the enlevement of the 
two infants is much the most elaborate and curious in 
the whole of this mysterious affair. That two children 
had been improperly carried off from their parents at 
the times specified could not be doubted. The difficulty 
lay in identifying them with the alleged twins of Lady 
Jane. As if to prove that the story of the twin-birth 
was unreal, a lady who had seen the two children 
together when they were brought to England, declared, 
from an examination of their mouths, that one was six 
months older than the other. This, however, was only 
a matter of belief. On considering the whole state of 
the case, the Court of Session, on the 15th July 1767, 
gave its decision. Seven judges were for sustaining the 
claim of Archibald Stewart, and seven were against 
doing so. The Lord President also decided against the 
claim; by which single vote the matter was so far 
brought adversely to a close. 

. Claimants of all kinds usually carry the crowd along 
with them. It was so in the present case. But, besides 
securing popular favour, the case of the youth, Archi- 
bald Stewart, gained the support of many persons of 
distinction ; and, as has been said, the decision of the 
Scotch Supreme Court was appealed to the House of 
Lords. The story of Lady Jane Douglas may now be 
considered as entering on a new phase. The combat is 
transferred from the Parliament House, Edinburgh, to 
Westminster, and fresh lawyers step into the arena. 



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104 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

We shall speak of one of them — a great man in his 
day. 

Thirty to forty years before the Douglas Cause was 
heard of, there dwelt in a parsonage in the county of 
Norfolk, a clergyman named Thurlow. His living was 
not great He could just fairly manage to educate his 
children, and leave them to make their way in the 
world as they best might He had a son, Edward, born 
in 1732. Ned, as he was called, was put to a village 
school, from which he was advanced to a higher 
academy at Canterbury, and finally sent as a student to 
Caius College, Cambridge. In all these moves, he 
shewed considerable ability, but it was associated with a 
spirit of idleness and intractability of character which 
vexed all to whom his education was intrusted. At 
Cambridge, he so outraged academic discipline, as to be 
severely reprimanded. Instead of expulsion, he was 
allowed to remove his name from the roll of students, 
and go about his business, which he unmurmuringly 
did. Already he had been entered as a student for 
the bar at the Inner Temple. Thither he went, took 
r chambers, and by fits and starts read intensely in pre- 
-^/ paration for what might cast up. To gain a knowledge 
/ of law-forms, he went into the office of a solicitor, and 

__ _ \ -/there he had for friend and companion, William CowperJ 

Who afterwards signalised himself as a poet At times, 
he visited Westminster Hall, to see how remarkable 
cases were conducted. 
Young Thurlow was 'called to the bar ' in 1754, but 
^ for a time he had little or nothing to do. Any jobs 
that fell in his way barely sufficed to keep him alive. 
At length his prospects improved. He got a silk gown; 
but still continued in chambers, and spent his evenings 



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STORY OF LADY JANE DOUGLAS. 105 

in social converse at coffee-rooms. One of these resorts 
which had a peculiar attraction for him was situated 
near Temple Bar, and kept by a person named Nando. 
It was a favourite place of meeting for young lawyers. 
They sat in boxes disputing with each other on any 
important case before the courts, the side which they 
respectively took being merely a matter of chance or 
caprice. 

One evening, shortly after notice of appeal had been 
given in the Douglas Cause, Thurlow was at Nando's. 
A debate on the subject was got up. He cared nothing 
as to the merits of the case ; but to keep up the dis- 
cussion, took the part of the appellants on behalf of 
Archibald Stewart Learnedly, acutely, he spoke of the 
cruel injury done to the memory of Lady Jane ;Douglas. 
When he set about it in right good-will, Thurlow was a 
tremendous arguer. He was almost too much for Dr 
Johnson, who was heard to say, that to encounter 
Thurlow on any particular subject, he would require a 
day's preparation. In the case brought under discus- 
sion at Nando's, there was that finely balanced amount 
of contradictions . which presented the best possible 
scope for the acumen of a young barrister. The subject 
took Thurlow's fancy, and he went into it with un- 
common zest Analysing Stewart's claim point by 
point, he conclusively proved its validity, and silenced 
his opponents. 

The argument, conducted with vehemence, attracted 
listeners. To hear an amusing debate of this kind, 
provincial solicitors on coming to town on business 
used to frequent Nando's, and were able to report on 
the clever young lawyers who had unwittingly shewn off 
their talents. On the night in question, two solicitors 



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lo6 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

from Edinburgh, who had come to town to prosecute 
proceedings in the Douglas Cause, were seated next 
box to that in which Thurlow was holding forth. They 
were surprised, delighted. Here was the very man 
they wanted as counsel Of course, Thurlow knew 
nothing of their presence, and having said all he had 
got to say, he paid his reckoning at the bar, and went 
off to his chambers, thinking no more of the subject 
The two Edinburgh agents were not disposed to lose 
sight of him. They inquired who he was; and next 
morning, without referring to his gladiatorial exhibition 
at Nando's, waited on him with a brief and fee as a 
retainer. 

Just as a lucky chance afterwards brought Erskine into 
- notoriety, so was it now with Thurlow. He undertook, 
and earnestly mastered the case. As a spur to his zeal, 
he had the support of the Duchess of Queensberry, to 
whom he was indebted for getting Lord Bute to make 
him a King's Counsel. The Duchess Catherine — wife 
of Charles, third Duke of Queensberry — was eccentric 
in a high degree, bordering on madness. She was the 
friend of Gay, Pope, and other poets of Queen Anne's 
reign. Prior, in one of his poems, celebrates her irre- 
pressible temper : 

Thus Kitty, beautiful and youngs 
And Wild as colt untamed. / 

Kitty threw herself with characteristic ardour into 
the Douglas Cause, vehemently defended Lady Jane's 
memory, left no stone unturned to make good the claim 
of young Stewart, whom she represented as a victim of 
the vilest oppression. Little wonder that Thurlow 
exerted himself under such inspiration. He saw it 



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STORY OF LADY JANE DOUGLAS. 107 

would be the making of his fortune, if he could win the 
cause. It was a hard battle. One of his antagonists 
was Wedderburn, who at this time had been ten to 
twelve years at the English bar. The two were well 
pitted against each' other. In his great concluding ora- 
tion, Thurlow made light of discrepancies in the evi-^ 
dence. Scarcely two historians relate incidents the \ 
same way. Few people are able to speak correctly as \ 
to dates or places. Memory is weak and treacherous. / 
It was not strange that Mrs Hewit had riot remembered 
everything accurately. There was not the slightest 
proof that Lady Jane's children could be identified with 
the two taken away surreptitiously. As for Lady Jane 
herself, she was an honourable woman, with no selfish 
purpose to serve by the alleged imposition. Nor were 
the births of the children when she was in her fifty-first 
year anything very marvellous. Such, according to a 
variety of circumstances, occasionally occurred Then 
there was above all, the fact of her parental care and 
tenderness throughout She in reality died a martyr for 
their welfare. And so on Thurlow went in his argu- 
ment He won the cause. On February 27, 1769,/^ 
the House of Lords adjudged that the appeal be J 
sustained; and that the decision therein complained of jl 
be reversed. In plain terms, Archibald Stewart was 1 
declared to be the son of Lady Jane, and heir to the J 
estates of his uncle, the Duke of Douglas. 

What exultations over this decision ! Public feeling 
in Scotland seems to have been wound up to as high 
a pitch of excitement respecting the decision of the 
House of Lords, as it could have been respecting a 
great battle deciding tiie fate of a nation. An advocate 
on the winning side posted off to carry the news to 



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V 



lo8 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

Edinburgh, where a multitude hailed him with trans- 
ports of joy, and taking the horses from his carriage, 
bore him home to his lodgings in triumph. 

Becoming thus entitled to the estates, Mr Stewart 
assumed the surname and arms of Douglas, with the 
well-known motto, Jamais arr&re (Never behind). By 
George III. he was elevated to the peerage, as Baron 
Douglas of Douglas Castle, 1790. Settling down in his 
magnificent domain in Lanarkshire, Lord Douglas 
acquitted himself creditably, and was noted for his 
spirited and tasteful improvements. Fortune, however, 
did not destine a lasting inheritance to his family. He 
was twice married, and at his decease left three sons 
and several daughters. Each of the sons succeeded in 
turn as Baron Douglas. All died without issue. On 
the decease of the third son, fourth Baron Douglas, 
1857, his estates were inherited by his eldest sister, Lady 
Montague, and the title was extinct 

As regards Thurlow, who was so accidentally but 
intimately concerned in the great Douglas Cause, he rose 
step by step in his profession by his transcendent abilities; 
and was appointed Lord Chancellor, and created a peer 
as Baron Thurlow of Ashfield, 1778. After a long and 
remarkable career, he -died 12 th September 1806. 

Such, in brief, is the story of the unfortunate Lady 
Jane Douglas. Looking to the great variety of char- 
acters that come upon the stage — the whimsical and 
unrelenting Duke, the misguided and unhappy heroine, 
the reckless spendthrift husband, the faithful Hewit (a 
kind of female Caleb Balderstone) ; the mystery of the 
twins, the ceremonious baptism of one of them at 
Rheims, with ringing of bells and scattering of money 
among the populace ; the skirmishing with want in the 



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STOR Y OF LADY JANE DOUGLAS. 109 

King's Bench prison; Lady Jane's dreary journey to 
Scotland, her lonely death, the mockery of a grand 
funeral, with nodding plumes and copiously draped 
mutes; the surviving child brought up on charity; the 
half-mad Kitty, Duchess of Queensberry; Thurlow 
debating over his punch at Nando's, and finally, with 
flowing periwig surmounting his bushy eyebrows, de- 
livering his great oration to the Lords, and winning 
the cause ; the overjoyed Scotch advocate dashing in a 
postchaise up to the Cross of Edinburgh, and frantically 
shouting triumph to a host of eager listeners — we say, 
when one thinks of all this, the wonder seems to be 
that the story of Lady Jane Douglas has not long since 
been made a subject for the stage. Surely, the dramatic 
muse never handled a theme so prolific in mysteries, 
contrasts, lights and shades, hopes and disappointments, 
delirious joys and the bitterest sorrows — the whole, in a 
surprising way, in one point of view, turning out satis- 
factorily at last ! With but a small stretch of imagina- 
tion, we can fancy what might be the closing scene : 
Archibald Lord Douglas, at one time a child supported 
by charity, is seated at a banquet, amidst friends and 
retainers, in a spacious hall in Bothwell Castle, richly 
embellished with pictures by Vandyke : The Clyde is 
flowing majestically under the windows : ' Bothwell 
Brig' in the distance : Enter peasant-girls bearing gifts 
of wild-flowers : One of them is invited to sing : The 
orchestra plays an appropriate symphony: She sings 
with feeling the plaintive ballad, ' O Bothwell Bank, thou 
bloomest fair:' Curtain slowly drops: The drama is 
ended 1 



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STORY OF WEDDERBURN. 



TN one of the old closes of Edinburgh, usually known 
•*• as the Mint Close, there may be seen, near the 
lower end of the lane, on the left-hand side in going 
down, a tall massive building, with a stair leading 
to the different floors, each a separate dwelling. To 
reach the entrance to the stair, over which is the date 
1672, we have to cross a small paved court The 
whole aspect of the place has a certain aristocratic 
character, and we should rightly conclude that the 
dwellings in the stair had at one time occupants of some 
local distinction. At the middle of last century, one 
of the floors formed the residence of Peter Wedderburn, 
a Lord of Session with the judicial title of Lord Chester- 
hall ; such designation being adopted by him from his 
patrimonial estate of Chesterhall, lying about Jwejye// 
_miles south of Edinburgh. " " II 

The Wedderburns were an old family in Scotland, 
— ^ noticed in history, but their possessions had dwindled 
down to the Chesterhall property, which was no more 
/yfchan a moderately sized farm, with an antiquated 
^(mansion, and a pigeon-house, as was customary with 
old domains where some style was kept up. It was a 



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STOR Y OF WEDDERBURN. 1 1 1 

pleasant enough spot The laird farmed the land him- y 
self, killed his own mutton ; and from the well-stocked ) 
pigeon-house, as also from a tolerably spacious poultry- j 
yard, the lady of the establishment drew supplies as a' 
variety on ordinary fare. Being much away on his 
duties connected with the court, of which he had 
risen to be a judge, after having spent years as a ,— 
practising advocate, the laird could not avoid having 
a town residence, and accordingly had pitched himself 
in what was considered a genteel quarter, at the foot 
of the Mint Close. Here he had for neighbour, a little 
higher up the lane, the Earl of Selkirk, whose house 
was subsequently occupied by Dr Daniel Rutherford, -^ 
uncle of Sir Walter Scott 

Peter Wedderburn, before rising to the bench, had 
married into a family quite as respectable as his own. 
His wife was an Ogilvie, descended from the Earls of 
Airlie. She was a lady who, with good taste, accommo- 
dated herself to her husband's position, whether as a 
gentleman-farmer or as a judge — not that, in this last- "" 
mentioned particular, he added greatly to his income ; 
for Scottish judges in those times were thought to be 
well paid with from five hundred to a thousand a year. \^ 
Peter's family was small. We hear of only two children, 
a son, Alexander, and a daughter, Janet According 
to some accounts, Alexander, the son and heir, was 
born at Chesterhall, 13th February 1733. It seems, 
however, to be more accurately stated that the place of 
his birth was the Mint Close. Here, at the town resi- 
dence of the family, he certainly spent much of his 
boyish days, playing at marbles in the little court-yard 1\ f- 
-with youngsters like himself. Could any one have 
imagined, on looking at the boy, Alexander Wedder- 



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112 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

burn, when engaged in these juvenile sports, that he 

would some day be Lord Chancellor of England, or 

/that his sister, Janet, would be the ancestress of a peer 

/ of the realm ! Yet such were their respective destinies 

-—•>[ — so marvellous a development from the Mint Close, 

" I that one can never be certain what may turn up from 

^the obscurest localities. 

Alec, as he was ordinarily called, grew up a sharp 
active boy, precocious, not easily discouraged. It was 
a great thing for him, that his mother was a woman of 
a naturally good understanding, with a high sense of 
duty. Besides being a capital housekeeper, she pos- 
sessed literary tastes, and by her assiduous teaching, 
materially promoted the education of her son. Peter, 
the father, took things easily, and, though a respectable 
judge, was not renowned as anything brilliant To the 
mother, the boy appears to have owed almost every- 
thing. She roused his aspirations, impressed him with 
a love of books, endeavoured to moderate his restless- 
ness, and was his faithful mentor. As the pretty town 
of Dalkeith, which lies half-way between Chesterhall 
and Edinburgh, was reputed to have a good grammar- 

. school, kept by Mr James Barclay, young Alec was sent 

thither, to be grounded in Latin and Greek, in which he 
acquired a tolerable proficiency. At fourteen years o(\ \ 

(j Q) \ a & e > ^ e was mat riculated at the university of Edinburgh. I / 
The object of all this education was to prepare young 
Wedderburn to follow in his father's footsteps, as an 
advocate, and possibly as a Lord of Session. Any- 
thing superior to that, old Peter could not imagine for 
his boy, along with the reversion of Chesterhall and the 
venerable dovecot. At seventeen to eighteen years of 
age, when it was desirable to think of a profession, Alec 



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STORY OF WEDDERBURN. 113 

did not absolutely repudiate the idea of going to the bar 
of the Court of Session. He submitted to the requisite 
training ; but he had begun to be dissatisfied with the 
prospect, and was fired with notions of making his way 
at the courts of Westminster. There were already two 
or three instances of young Scotchmen distinguishing 
themselves at the English bar. The most notable of 
these was the Hon. William Murray, son of Viscounty 
.Stormont, who was now Attorney-general, became Lord ) 
Chief-justice of the King's Bench, and died Earl 
Mansfield. There were no such trump cards in Scotland. 
Alec formed a resolution to take the earliest opportunity 
to sacrifice his prospects in the north, and go to 
England. Peter, the father, being communicated with 
on the subject, did not at all relish his son's idea of not 
going decently on as the laird of Chesterhall, as well as 
an advocate, and an expectant Lord of Session. Still, 
he did not utterly discountenance the project of entering 
at the English bar, and to humour his son, introduced 
him to Hume Campbell, residing at the seat of his 
brother, the Earl of Marchmont, and who from experi- 
ence could speak of the chances of success by going to 
the bar at Westminster. The result was unsatisfactory. 
Campbell, a little out of temper with the youth's loqua- 
city and pretensions, thought him to be an empty 
foolish lad, and recommended the father to get him an 
ensigncy in the army, as the only thing for which he was 
fitted. Alec treasured up this unfavourable opinion, 
and secretly vowed to shew him the fallacy of his 
disparaging remarks. 

No way discouraged, but with an inborn resolution 
to qualify for the English bar, young Wedderburn took 
a journey to London, to look about him, and learn all 

H 



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( 



M4 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

needful particulars. This was in 1753. As an inornate 
» friend of David Hume, he received from him a letter of 
introduction to Dr Clephane, a Scotch physician, who 
was able to advise him. What Alec learned on the 
occasion confirmed him in his intentions. Before quit- 
ting London, he entered himself as a barrister at the 
Inner Temple, and remained sufficiently long to dine at 
the Hall in Easter and Trinity terms. Back he came to 
Edinburgh, underwent his civil law trials, and entered 
at the Scottish Bar in June 1754. Of course, this was 
only a make-shift For three years he walked the Par- 
liament House, with / little to do as an advocate. In 
a the General Assembly x>f the Church he distinguished 
\ himself for his oratorical displays, but this led to little, 
and he pined to try his hand in the south. A circum- 
stance of a curious nature precipitated his migration. 
It has been often related, but hardly twice the same 
way. Lord Campbell, in his Lives of the Chancellors^ 
mentions that at this time the Dean of the Faculty of 
Advocates was a veteran at the bar, named Lockhart, 
a man of such an overbearing disposition, that several 
juniors resolved to take an opportunity of affronting 
him before the court Wedderburn happened to have 
the first chance, and it suited him to embrace it, for he 
was desirous to quit Edinburgh, and cared not what 
might be the upshot 

This memorable affair came off in July or the begin- 
ning of August 1757, at which time Alec was twenty- 
four years of age. In a case in which he was concerned, 
Lockhart, with his accustomed rudeness, spoke of young 
Wedderburn as ' a presumptuous boy ! ' Here was the 
much-desired opportunity. Calmly rising, he said: 
1 The learned Dean has confined himself to vituperation. 



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STORY OF WEDDERBURN. 115 

I do not say he is capable of reasoning ; but if tears 
would have answered his purpose, I am sure tears 
would not have been wanting. , Starting up in a rage, 
Lockhart threatened vengeance. With imperturbable 
audacity, Wedderburn uttered some biting remarks in 
allusion to a painful domestic circumstance, which had 
brought Lockhart into discredit. At such an outbreak, 
the court was in profound amazement The President 
firmly declared that Mr Wedderburn's language was 
unbecoming in an advocate or gentleman. This only 
roused him to a further assault He exclaimed that his 
lordship had stated as a judge what he could not justify 
as a gentleman. The wand of peace was now thoroughly 
broken. He was ordered to retract his words and 
apologise, on pain of deprivation. The scene that 
ensued was without a parallel in the Court of Session. 
'All of a sudden,' says Lord Campbell, i Wedderburn 
seemed to have subdued his passion, and put on an air 
of deliberate coolness — when, instead of the expected 
retractation and apology, he stripped off his gown, and 
holding it in his hands before the judges, he said : " My 
Lords, I neither retract nor apologise ; but I will save 
you the trouble of deprivation ; there is my gown, and 
I will never wear it more ; virtute me involvo (I enrobe 
myself in virtue)." He then coolly laid his gown 
upon the bar, made a low bow to the judges, and before 
they had recovered from their amazement, he left the 
court, which he never again entered.' 

It could be shewn that Lord Campbell has erred in 
stating that Lockhart was at that time Dean of Faculty; 
he was at anyrate a leading member of the bar, and the 
details of the incident, as related, are substantially 
correct The occurrence caused much commotion in 



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\ 



s 



116 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

legal and other circles. Young as he was, Wedderburn 
had won his way into the best literary and professional 
society in Edinburgh. All were aghast at his audacity 
in outraging the decorum of the court, and there was 
not a little surprise that he had been suffered to escape 
with impunity. It would have been a heart-breaking 
thing for old Peter, had he been seated on the bench on 
the occurrence of this escapade. He had died the year 
previously, and was spared so distressing a circumstance. 
In point of fortune, Wedderburn sacrificed little by 
quitting Scotland. Chesterhall was burdened with debt, 
and the fees at the bar had been insignificant Still, 
his conduct was unwarrantable, and could neither leave 
pleasing recollections nor contribute to his advance- 
ment in the new field he had chosen. He lost no time 
in preparations for departure. Leaving orders for his 
"books JO be sent to him by sea, he quitted Edinburgh for 
London on the evening of the day in which he bowed 
his farewell to the court. Carrying with him only a 
small valise, he set off in the stage-coach, which occu- 
pied six tedious days in the journey. 

Arriving in town comparatively poor, but with an 
earnest resolution to advance himself by all proper 
means, Wedderburn possessed brilliant talents, which 
only required to be known. Settling down in a set of 
chambers at the Temple, and considering the proba- 
bilities of success, he found he had first of all to over- 
come a serious drawback. This was his Scotch intona- 
tion. Resolute in vanquishing this defect — which was 
then thought to be of more importance than it is in 
these less fastidious times — he put himself as a pupil 
under Sheridan, and afterwards under Macklin. Both 
were Irishmen but their elocution was excellent; and 



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STORY OF WEDDERBURN. 117 

in their desire to help on the young Scotchman, they 
introduced him to their dramatic friends. The Green- 
Room and Stage became a school in which to study ai 
pure English pronunciation, and this Wedderburn wast 
not long in picking up. Being 'called to the Bar/ and 
equipped with gown and wig for practice in the Court 
of King's Bench, the consideration now was how to get 
briefs. Scottish clannishness stood him in good stead. \ 
His sister, Janet, had married Sir Henry Erskine, Bart, \ 
a descendant of the seventh Earl of Mar, through the / 
Erskines of Alva, and who, besides being a lieutenant- A 
general in the army, was colonel of the Royal Scots. 
This proved a good marriage for Janet, and it had a 
beneficial influence on her brother's fortunes. Colonel 
Sir Henry Erskine was a friend of Lord Bute ; through 
which channel, and aided by a number of prosperous 
Scotchmen in London, Wedderburn pushed his way, 
was thought a wonderfully clever fellow, and began to 
secure the confidence of attorneys. The decease of 

George II. and accession of George III. with the Bute ~ 

ministry, gave him a considerable lift Professing him- 
self a warm partisan of the government, he was returned 
to the House of Commons as member for the Rothesay 
and Inveraray group of burghs. 

With the House of Commons as an arena for his 
abilities, Wedderburn had now the ball at his foot 
Business flowed in upon him. In 1763, he was made a 
king's counsel, and obtained a silk gown, a preferment 
of which, by letter, he apprised his mother, who looked i — 
with anxiety to the outcome of Alec's migration south- 
ward. How, with these beginnings, Wedderburn rose 
step by step in his career, belongs to history. We are , . 
sorry to say, he cannot be represented as a man of high I 1 



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Ii8 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES, 

integrity or acute sense of honour. Political consistency 
he thought little about His object was professional 
aggrandisement Doubtless, as regards looseness of 
principle, there were examples on all sides. The early 
years of the reign of George III., in which were 
embraced the blunders and distractions of the American 
war, are not to be looked back upon with satisfaction. 
Like a stormy petrel, Wedderburn contrived to swim on 
the top of the waves. His powers of sarcasm and 
invective were terrific. Few dared to face him. Early 
in his business career, he had an opportunity of attack- 
ing Hume Campbell ; inflicting on him such a castiga-^ 
tion, as to drive him from the bar of the Court of 
King's Bench, and to seek refuge in the Court of 
Chancery. Though guilty of this vindictiveness, Wedder- 
burn was not without remorseful feelings. He was* 
conscious of having done a wrong to Lockhart, which,] 
on rising into power, he did his best to remedy by 
paying attention to his son at the English bar. Lockhart 
himself, at the age of seventy-five, is said to have been 
promoted to the bench on his recommendation. 

Wedderburn's success was facilitated by his early 

study of the Civil Law, and the blending of Law and 

Equity, which he had been accustomed to in the Court 

of Session. Practice in the Court of Chancery came 

easily to him. With this advantage, along with his 

f marked ability as a speaker — and we might say as i 

\a trimmer — his promotion was rapid. He became j! 

Attorney-general; next, he was made Chief-justice of 

/the Common Pleas; and at length, 1780, was sum-i 

I moned to the House of Lords as Lord Loughborough. 1 

\ In 1793, he wa$ appointed Lord Chlm^ellorrand^now 

was at the summit of his. ambition. It is instructive 



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STOR Y OF WEDDERBURN. 1 19 

to know that the possession of .the Great Seal, on which . 
he had long set his heart, imparted no solid happiness. 
He acknowledged that he had been pursuing a vain/ 
phantom; and in that candid avowal have we not the'^ 
moral that may be drawn from his successful but 
troubled career ? 

We approach the end. Lord Loughborough gave 
lip the Great Seal in 1801 ; at the same time being 
advanced to the dignity of Earl of Rosslyn.. Now in 
his old days, and with no longer any necessity to main- 
tain his artificial accent, the old Scotch vernacular came 
back upon him, and he spoke as if fresh from * a game 
at the bools ' in the Mint Close. That close, with its 
huge dark building and little plain-stoned court, he 
wished to see before he died. Visiting Edinburgh for 
the purpose, he was too feeble to walk down the narrow 
lane, and was carried in a sedan-chair to the scene 
of his boyish games. What he specially desired to 
ascertain was, whether the holes in the pavement to 
which the marbles had been knuckled sixty years ago, 
were still preserved. There they were still intact. 
He was satisfied. His last wish was fulfilled. With 
little to admire in this extraordinary man, it must be 
admitted that his pilgrimage to the Mint Close shewed . 
a degree of sensibility that almost redeems him from \ 
some of his failings. 

Wedderburn — to call him by his original name — was 
twice married, but at his death he left no issue. He 
died, 2d January 1805, and his remains were honoured 
with a public funeral in St Paul's Cathedral. His titles 
of Loughborough and Rosslyn, devolved, in terms of 
the patent, upon his nephew, Sir James Erskine, a son - 
of his sister Janet, and from Sir James is descended trie 



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A 



A 



120 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

present Earl of Rosslyn. It need only be added, that 
the Chesterhall property, long the seat of the Wedder- 
bums, is now merged in the domain of Oxenford, 
belonging to the Earl of Stair. The old mansion where 
Peter Wedderburn used to recreate himself in the 
intervals of Session, is vanished, but the antique dove- 
cot, as is usual with such structures, is, we believe, ' still 
to the fore,' and forms a picturesque object in the 
landscape. 



\ 



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STORY OF ERSKINE. 



HPHE story of Wedderburn, an Edinburgh boy, who, 
•** reared in the profundities of the Mint Close, came 
to be Lord Chancellor of England, is rivalled in romantic 
interest in the history of the Hon. Thomas Erskine, 
also an Edinburgh youth, with but a poor patrimony, 
who, by dint of talent, rose to the same high dignity. 
Erskine came a little later into the world than Wedder- 
burn. He was bonT ioth January 1750, and must have 
been in his seventh year when Wedderburn enacted the 
extraordinary scene in the Court of Session already 
pictured, and, like a fury, bolted off to push his fortune 
in London. In the case of Erskine, there occurs no 
such explosion of temper ; and his early history is every 
way more exemplary and pleasing. 

Genteel as was the Mint Close as a place of residence 
at the middle of the last century, it was scarcely more 
so than certain parts of the High Street, where there 
were common stairs leading to as many as nine or ten 
stories, each occupied by a separate family — the gen- 
tility, of course, always diminishing as you ascended to 
the roof— Peers, Lords of Session, or perhaps Dowager 
Ladies of quality, residing in the lower floors, doctors of 



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122 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

divinity or of medicine higher up, tradesmen in the 
garrets — a queer but not unhappy jumble of people 
" " living in mutual respect of each other, and making few 
complaints as to their scanty accommodation. In one 
of those tall buildings, pretty high in the stair, dwelt 

- Henry-David, fifth Earl of Buchan. In point of eti- 
quette, his lordship should have lived in the first or 
second floor above the shops ; but narrow circumstances 
compelled him to be satisfied with one of the higher 

— -floors, which could be had for a comparatively moderate 
rent It is not quite easy to understand how one in the 
position of an earl, with his countess and family, should 
have been able to live with any degree of comfort in a v 
floor of only three or four small apartments, elevated my 
hundred feet above the ground, and wholly destitute oF J 
modern appliances. Yet, the thing was done. To give 
an appearance of roominess, a good deal was effected I 
by having beds t to resemble a wardrobe or chest of \ 
drawers. As for the servant-girl, she slept under the > 
kitchen dresser. 

Such was the town residence of the Earl of Buchan. 
He had an old castle somewhere in the country, but it 
had fallen to ruin, and he possessed no means to put it 
in repair. His available revenue at this time was only 
'two hundred pounds a year. Having married a daughter 
of Sir James Steuart, Bart, of Goodtrees, and brought 
on himself the obligations of a family, his lordship was 
fain to seek a dwelling in town, for the sake of cheap 
education for his children. In his efforts at an econo- 
mical style of living, he was nobly seconded by his 
wife. The Countess of Buchan is spoken of as having 
been a woman of acute intellect, elevated taste, sincere 
piety, and strong common-sense* She had three sons, 



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STORY. OF ERSKINE. 123 

David, Henry, and Thomas, and a daughter, Isabella, 

all of whom she taught to read, and otherwise instructed. 

In time, the boys went to the High School, a seminary 

of learning well adapted for grounding in the classics. 

Here, Thomas made some progress. His daily fare, 

like that of his brothers, was what was usual among ^ 

Scotch boys, even among the higher class of families — . \^TT 

fa basin of oatmeal porridge with milk for breakfast, and Vj~ 
'kail ' or broth with a piece of bread for dinner. The ' 
earl could not afford to give meals of a costly nature. 
Friends dropped in to tea at six o'clock in the evening, 
and so far the junior members of the family had an 1 
opportunity of seeing some good society, and hearing 
intelligent conversation. The talk was often on religious 
and ecclesiastical topics ; for the Erskines were related i 
to persons who took a leading part in church polity. 
Small as were the outlays on these little tea-drinkings, 
they were felt to press rather heavily; and to lessen 
general expenses, the family removed to St Andrews, j 
where rents were lower, education somewhat cheaper, 
and fewer friends to be entertained. Tom, as he 7 
was called, was here advanced in his learning, and / 
became noted for his activity and powers of memory. 
At the dancing-school, he learned to dance Shatitrews, I 
and to acquit himself creditably in a minuet The cost 
of the schooling was not great, but we can fancy that 
even at St Andrews, with all the scheming and economy 
of the earl and countess, they had a severe struggle to 
maintain a decent appearance, and make both ends 
meet. 

Some people — perhaps -a good many— with no more 
than two hundred pounds a year, would spend nearly 
the whole on personal indulgences, and care little about 



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124 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

educating their children. In the present case, with 
honours to sustain, there was a far higher sense of duty. 
David, the eldest son and heir, styled Lord Cardross, 
was sent to Leyden to complete his education ; Henry 

^was educated for the Scottish bar; and Isabella, the 
daughter, needed to be brought forward in lady-like 
accomplishments. Tom came rather worst off. .With 
such pulls on his slenderly filled purse, the earl could 
not see his way to bring up his youngest son to a 
learned profession. If the boy had been allowed his 
will, he would have preferred to go into the army; 
but there were no funds wherewith to purchase a commis- 
sion ; and, to make the best of things, he agreed to enter 
as a midshipman on board a man-of-war. An opening 
of this kind being procured on board the Tartar, a 
vessel under command of Sir David Lindsay, he was 
assigned to a life at sea. Equipped in a cocked-hat, 
a blue jacket, and fanciful small-sword, he embarked at 
Leith, March 1764, bidding farewell to his parents, and 
doubtful as to his future prospects. Sailing down the 
Firth of Forth, and seeing Arthur Seat melting away 
in the distance, all before him was dark and uncertain. 
The utmost he looked forward to was rising to the 
ank of a lieutenant How little was he aware of 

/his destiny ! The next time he saw the towering heights 

j of his native city, he had attained to social eminence as 

va peer of the realm ! 

Fortunately, there was an elasticity of spirit in 
Erskine which enabled him to bear up under a harsh 
routine of duty. Things were then coarsely conducted 
in ships of war, as is shewn by Smollett's inimitable 
descriptions in Roderick Random. Minutely attentive 
to every detail of the service, the young midshipman 



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STORY OF ERSKINE. 125 

lost no opportunity of supplying the deficiencies of his 
education by reading and study ; nor was he less care- 
ful in treasuring up every kind of professional knowledge 
that was available. His ship having gone to the West 
Indies, he there picked up information regarding the 
country and the state of the labouring population. On^ 
his return voyage, in acknowledgment of his steadiness 
and skill in seamanship, he was appointed acting- 
lieutenant, a circumstance which opened up the hope 
of rising in his profession. Great, accordingly, was his 
disappointment when the ship was paid off at Ports- 
mouth, with no immediate prospect of his being again 
employed. He was now eighteen years of age; his 
father had just died, and the prospect was sufficiently 
blank. Returning to his first fancies, he determined to 
go, if possible, into the army. The small sum left to 
him by his father enabled him to procure an ensign's 
commission in the Royal Scots, or First Regiment of 
Foot. This change of profession took place in 1768, " 
after an experience of four years at sea. 

Erskine was now a subaltern officer in a marching 
regiment, flitting about from town to town, parading in 
a scarlet uniform, killing time by reading at circulating 
libraries, dancing at balls, and enjoying the ordinary 
amount of flirtation. So went on two years; when a 
flirtation with one of the belles of a provincial town — a 
lady of respectable family, but no fortune — abruptly led 
to a marriage with her, 1770. This was in some sense 
an imprudent act, yet it really proved to be auspicious. 
It inspirited him to think more earnestly than he had 
done before, and evoked the highest qualities of his 
mind. Sent with his regiment to Minorca, he was allowed 
to take his wife along with him. He was absent for two 



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<I26 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

years, during which he devoted every spare moment to 
mental improvement, and made himself familiar with 
the writings of Shakspeare, Milton, and other great 
English poets, some of which he learned to repeat from 
memory. The early instruction in religious matters, 
inculcated by his mother, now became publicly service- 
able. He was selected to act as chaplain to his regi- 
ment, which was essentially Scotch, and his sermons 
and extempore prayers, delivered with fervour, gave 
unqualified satisfaction. One would say, with such a 
well-balanced mind, and gifts of oratory, there need 
have been little apprehension as to the future. 

Back to England in 1772, he figured for a season in 
, 7 sy society in London, was introduced to Dr Johnson, and, 
^ {{ as Boswell tells us, had the honour of wrangling with 
that incomparable gossip and disputant In 1773, he 
was promoted to be a lieutenant in his regiment, and 
again was kept on the move from town to town. This 
idling away of existence, as he felt it to be, was irksome 
and hopeless. He could not buy steps in the service. 
Was he to live and die a lieutenant ? No ; something 
better must be thought of. Meditating on the awkward- 
ness of his position, he, one day, by way of a little 
recreation, entered a court-room in which the town 
assizes were held. This was in August 1774, He was 
dressed in his regimentals, and attracted the attention 
/of the presiding judge, Lord Mansfield, who, on learn- 
1 ing that he was a son of the late Earl of Buchan, 
' invited him to sit on the bench beside him, and, further, 
took some pains to explain to him the nature of the 
case that was being tried. This was the turning-point 
in Erskine's fate. He suddenly grasped at the idea 6f 
studying for the law, and from what he saw and heard, 



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STORY OF ERSKINE. 127 

felt assured that he could have little difficulty in excel- 
ling the barristers to whose pleadings he had just 
listened. 

A new chapter now opens in the life of Erskine. He 
had tried two means of livelihood, and they had failed. 
A third was now to be attempted. The hazard was 
considerable. His brothers were uneasy at his resolu- 
tion; but his mother, with a consciousness of his 
abilities, had no fears as to the result 

There were several difficulties to be encountered. 
He would, in the first place, require to study three 
years for the degree of M. A. at Oxford or Cambridge ; _ 
then he must be admitted as a law student at Lincoln's 
Inn. How was all this to be accomplished while he 
was still in the army, and where was the money to 
come from to pay his fees ? These untoward obstruc- 
tions were successfully overcome. He procured leave 
of absence for six months from his regiment; and, as f 
regards the routine of study at the university, we believe / 
he derived some privileges in virtue of his birth. He j 
got through his terms at Cambridge, and at last he sold \ 
his commission for a sum which gave him a lift onward. » 
It needed it all. He had a wife with an increasing 
family. They were stowed away in lodgings at Kentish 
Town, one of the north-west suburbs of London, and - 
the whole, as well as himself, practised the most rigorous 
economy. Looking at the position in which he was 
placed, with absolutely no friends to aid in his advance- 
ment, we can scarcely picture anything more lonely or 
depressing. Erskine, however, had in him the right 
stuff, out of which great men are buoyed to the surface. 
All he needed was a lucky chance to bring himself into 
a blaze of notoriety. 



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128 STOKIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

In July 1778, he was called to the bar, and for some 
months he underwent certain private discipline as a 
pleader. In November, the lucky chance came, and it 
did so in a way so curious and unforeseen, as to deserve 
special notice. Being invited to spend the day with a 
friend, Mr Moore, he was on his way to do so, when, in 
leaping across a. ditch at Spa Fields, he slipped his foot 
and sprained his ankle. In much pain, he was carried 
home, and the engagement at his friend's house was 
necessarily broken off. Towards the evening, he felt 
himself so much recovered, that he resolved to join a 
dinner-party, for which an invitation had been received 
in the course of the day. He went — the induce- 
ment to dine at home not being particularly great. It 
happened to be a large dinner-party. There was much 
lively conversation with sallies of wit, in which Erskine 
shone with his accustomed brilliance. He made a 
favourable impression on Captain Baillie, an old salt, 
whom he had never seen before. Baillie was full of his 
own story. It was a case of oppression. For having, 
in a printed statement, shewn up certain gross abuses 
in the administration of Greenwich Hospital, he had, 
through the influence of Lord Sandwich, the First Lord, 
been suspended by the Board of Admiralty, and a 
prosecution for libel now impended over him in the 
Court of King's Bench. Discovering that Erskine had 
been a sailor, and was now called to the bar, he, 
without saying a word on the subject, determined to 
have him for one of his counsel. 

Next day, while sitting in a despondent mood, Erskine 
heard a smart knock at the door. An attorney's clerk 
enters, and puts in his hand a paper along with a golden- 
guinea. It was a retainer for the defendant in the case 



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STOR Y OF EZSJCINE. J29 

of the King versus Baillie. Any one can imagine his 

delight at the unexpected circumstance. The guinea, 1 __y, 

his first fee, was treasured as a family keepsake. At I — r 

first, he was not aware that there were to be along with 

him four senior counsel, each of whom would speak 

before him ; and a knowledge of the fact was rather 

discouraging. Still, he studied and mastered the case ; 

his acquaintanceship with sea-affairs and seamen adding 

zest to his mode of treatment. Before the case came 

on, three of the seniors were for a compromise. Erskine 

resolutely stood out. He saw his game. At the debate 

in court, before Lord Mansfield, these seniors were 

dry and prosy. The fourth, Mr Hargrave, began to 

speak, but he was compelled to leave by indisposition. \ 

It was too late to do any more that day, and the case I 
was adjourned, which was fortunate, for the court would J 
next day listen unjaded to Erskine's line of argument. 

On the day following, 24th November 1778, the great i\\ (?) 
day of Erskine's triumph, the case was left to his guid- U * / 
ance. He stepped forward modestly, and, in a pleasing 
tone of voice, stated that he appeared as junior counsel I 
for the defence, and begged to be heard. He was J 
unknown to every one, except, it might be, to Lord I 
Mansfield, who, on a former occasion, had shewn him 
some polite attention. Warming as he advanced in his 
argument, he in a flood of forensic eloquence, in bitter \ 
but just terms, pointed out the infamy of Lord Sand- J 
wich's proceedings, and besought the court to do justice / 
to the object of his oppression. Instead of deprivation 
of office, fine, and imprisonment, poor Baillie deserved 
tiie highest approbation. ' The man/ he said, * deserves 
a palace instead of a prison, who prevents the palace 
built by the public bounty of his country from being 



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*3* 



STO&IES OF OLD FAX/LIES, 



\ 




converted into a dungeon, and who sacrifices his ©*P 
security to the interests of ^humanity and virtue/ The 
force, the truth o£ his eloquent harangue, produced M 
impression almost unprecedented. The court, GttwkA 
with, men of distinction, was mute ^rith astoroshmetifc 
The speech was without rant, dr nionthin& ; or anf 
indecorum^ It was fervid, elegant; and .convinciogj 
for it came front t&e iieart^aad was.free froin ^yof $4 
hackneyed aarts of a; practised bamster> As the best 
tribute! to so much -> eloquence^ the •eass- Against jfoe 
defendant was discharged./, BaiHie came :c# vjftor^ 
irskine's fortune; ' w£s ; made/. &*, ihe; -left; tlpnet «purft 
and walked dowmlWesttnipittar HaMi'attprnejrsipress^ 
around hihi wjtlijbrieft.^iidifees.' I8r/tber|riurlu)&>te 
was poor and cQmpartotiyeljri unknown* -.* la ti^evewl 
hie was feaaecVand m the w&yrof jtoiking several the* 
sands a yeafin ^tne^j one asked him hwj&evbadA* 
courage to $peak >iriWi- jsttch i rj^dae^ to; J^ord Maa#$ld« 
The answer he (gays has;been f &MnQr^lised* . ijesaiife 
f Because I ; thought; my little* >cbildrei!t weje, ptascking .*$ 
kny gown ; and that I heaird them saying cr "NOW 
father* is the time to give jus brcjai" V . i v , ; J 
J < After; this^ Erskine pursued a successful career afc Jh* 
tar, without^, ai ,was- remarked* t incurring either; envjr P? 
detracr±on4 > His good: fcempef; and geniality of manner 
made him a universal &vojmt& i In i779> h* W 
employed m defence of Adcairal Lord Keppei, who had 
been wiiongfuUy >accuscd of misconduct at the J^ttte 
with the French fleet off Ushant He was successful i* 
getting a verdict «£ acquittal ; and full, of gratitude for 
his zeal and industry, Keppel presented him with a 
rthousand pounds. ' ,.{ c 

< . It is. unnecessary to pursue the details of his loreasfc 



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STOR Y OF ERSKINE. 131 

and political achievements — how he defended Lord j 

George Gordon, Home Tooke, and others, became j 
member of parliament for Portsmouth, and rising in his 
profession, was appointed Lord Chancellor of Great \ 
Britain, and raised to the peerage as^ Baron Erskine of J 
Restormel, 1806. Owing to a change of administration, / 
he did not long retain the office of Chancellor. While I 
a judge, he was liked for his suavity. It never has been )Ta Xf\ — tj ° 
said that he was eminent as a jurists He was celebrated '^ 
/-rz-mainly for his brilliant oratorical qtjalities, the saliencyi \ J 1 
III of his wit, his manly courage in defending right against/ ' 
^H m ^ght, and his indefatigable industry. He was fond of 
fun and jocularities, and uttered innumerable bon-ra^ts, 
though, in these respects, he, was perhaps outshone* by 
his brother, Hon. Henry Erskine, who distinguished, 
himself as an advocate at the Scottish bar. Lord 
jfcrskine's wife, who had been his faithful and enduring: 
companion in depressed circumstances, unfortunately^ 

did not live to see her husband Lord Chancellor- She ^ 

died in 1805, before he reaphed this dignity; He^ 
mourned and long survived her, marrying a second time 
in his old age. His lordship died wnile on a visit to x 
Scotland, in 1823^ and was succeeded in his title by hisV 
eldest son. The only thing we have to add respecting! 
Lord Erskine is, that his Speeches have been collected 
and published, and testify to his extraordinary genius. ~ 



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STORY OF SUSANNAH, COUNTESS OF 
EGLINTOUN. 



ON a towering height overlooking the valley of 
the Seine, at no great distance from Havre, stood 
the chateau or castle of Montgomerie, from which its 
proprietors, an old family of distinction in Normandy, 
took their surname. At the invasion of England by 
William the Conqueror, 1066, he was accompanied by 
his relative, Roger de Montgomerie, who, for his 
services at the battle* of Hastings, was rewarded by 
grants of lands, and created Earl of Shrewsbury. A 
descendant of this personage, Robert de Montgomerie, 
settled in the west of Scotland about the middle of the 
twelfth century, and there the Scotch branch of the 
Montgomeries received gifts of lands, and in time rose 
to dignity and importance. Before 1450, the representa- 
tive of the family was created Lord Montgomerie ; and 
in 1506, the Lord Montgomerie of his day was raised 
to the dignity of Earl of Eglintoun. The want of male 
heirs caused a temporary change in the family surname. 
By the decease of Hugh, fifth Earl of Eglintoun, in 
161 2, the inheritance devolved on Sir Alexander Seton, 
a son of Lady Margaret Montgomerie, eldest daughter of 



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SUSANNAH, COUNTESS OF EGLINTOUN. 933 

Hugh, the third earl, who had married Robert Seton, 
first Earl of Wintoun, Sir Alexander, who thus became 
sixth Earl of Eglintoun, and assumed the surname 
of Montgomerie, was one of the notable men in his 
day, who brought into the family the energy and proud 
bearing of the Setons. Not ceasing for a moment to 
lose his loyal attachments, he was, like some other dis- 
tinguished nobles of his time, constrained by a sense 
of duty to uphold the principles of civil and religious 
liberty. As a zealous Covenanter, he adhered to the 
parliament, took part in the celebrated Assembly of 
Divines at Westminster, and fought under Leven and 
Fairfax at the battle of Marston Moor. Renowned for 
his valour, he received the popular designation of 
Greysteil, by which he is still known in family tradition. 
Cromwell, as an autocratic outcome of the national con- 
vulsion, was not relished by Greysteil, who did all in 
his power to promote the restoration of Charles II. 

At this point in our narrative, attention has to be 
called to a work of considerable interest, the Memorials 
of the Montgomeries, by William Fraser, in two quarto 
volumes, printed for private circulation. Mr Fraser is 
deeply versed in genealogical and peerage lore. By his 
researches in the charter-rooms of grand old mansions, 
he has done much to clear up doubtful points in family 
history. In the course of his explorations among old 
writs in the castle of Eglintoun, he alighted upon a 
letter addressed by John, sixth Earl of Cassillis, to Alex- 
ander, sixth Earl of Eglintoun (Greysteil), which at once 
puts to flight a popular romance, founded on ballad 
literature. What .a downcome it would have been to 
Charles Kirkpatrick Sharpe, who wrote an elaborate 
account of the affair, to have known on incontestable 



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134 STORIES OF 0U> FAMILIES 

authority that the versified story of * Johnnie Faa, the 
Gypsy Laddie'— a thing imbedded in our youthful 
memory, and the air to which it was song to us by an 
old aunt^ still, after a lapse of seventy years r tingEng 
fresh in remembrance — is altogether a falsehood, the 
invention of some clever but evil-mmded > /w^»r. For 
the sake of honest literature, the matter cannot be 
passed over. 

Let us first deal with the circumstances embalmed m 
the popular tradition. The Earl of Cassillis, quite as 
stern a Covenanter as the Eaxl of Eglintoun, married 
Lady Jane Hamilton, daughter of Thomas, first Earl of 
Haddington— Tarn o* the Cowgate, as James VI. called 
htm. The lady was unhappy. She had been previously 
beloved by a gallant young knight, Sir John Faa of 
Dunbar. When several years had come and gone, 
and Lady Cassillis had brought her husband three 
children, this passion led to a dreadful catastrophe. 
Faa, seizing the opportunity when the earl was attending 
the Assembly of Divines at Westminster, came disguised 
as a gypsy, with a band of followers, and, by glamour or 
magical illusion, induced the countess to elope. In 
the language of the ballad : 

The gypsies cam to the Earl o' Cassillis* yett, 

And oh, but they sang sweetly ; 
They sang sae sweet and sae very complete, 

That doun cam our fair lady. 

And she cam tripping doun the stair, 

Wi* all her maids before her ; 
As sune as they saw her weel-faured face, 

They cuist their glamour o'er her. 

Before the countess and this crew of real or assumed 



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SUSANNAH, COUNTESS OF EQUNTOUN. 135 

gypsies bad been long gone, the earl returned, pursued, 
them on horseback, overtook and captured them at a 
ford over the river Doon, called the Gypsies'. Steps. 
Johnnie Faa and his accomplices were hanged on the 
'Dule-tree ' opposite the castle-gate of Cassillis, and the. 
countess was thereafter imprisoned during the remainder 
of her life in an old family mansion, at Maybole ; her 
occupation, during her lifelong imprisonment, being the 
working of tapestry. On a fine projecting staircase in 
trie tower, heads were carved representing those of the 
gypsy abductor and his band — the earl in the meantime 
rhanying another wife. The effigies of the gypsies, still 
shewn on the mansion, are said to be very minute. 
Such is the story of the ballad of Johnnie Faa, and so 
circumstantial is it, that one is inclined to wonder how 
it should have been so ingeniously invented. Possibly, 
the existence of an old baronial mansion of the Cassillis 
family in Maybole, decorated with some carved heads — > 
a- ford in the Doon, which, at an unknown period, was 
caHed the Gypsies* Steps— a splendid umbrageous planer 
tree in front of the castle-gate, which likely enough 
had been used as a gallows, in the days when heritable 
jurisdictions gave the power of life and death — the 
circumstance of Faa being the name of a gypsy clan- 
may have assisted in the fabrication of the romance. At 
anyrate, it is untrue that the Countess of Cassillis eloped 
with Johnnie Faa, or any one else. It is untrue that 
the Earl of Cassillis, with a band of retainers, went after 
them. It is untrue that he captured and hanged Faa 
and his associates. It is untrue that he repudiated the 
countess, and immured her for life in the family mansion 
at Maybole. And there is no evidence that the unfor- 
tunate lady worked tapestry during her lengthened 



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136 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

captivity. In short, the whole thing is a downright 
falsehood; and in this, as in many similar cases of 
ballad legends, the truth of history has been strangely, 
if not malignantly perverted. Relying on documentary 
evidence, Mr Fraser shews that the Earl of Cassillis 
was married to Lady Jane Hamilton in December 1621; 
that they lived together happily for twenty-one years, 
that is, till her decease in 1642. This is proved by the 
lately discovered letter of the Earl of Cassillis, inti- 
mating the death of his dear spouse, to which Lord 
Eglintoun answers in terms of condolence. It further 
appears, that a letter was addressed by the Earl of 
Cassillis, shortly after the death of his wife, to the Rev. 
Robert Douglas, in which he expresses great respect 
and tenderness for the memory of Lady Jane ; which is 
quite inconsistent with the fanciful story of her elope- 
ment and imprisonment Moreover, the earl was so 
devoted to the memory of Lady Jane, that he did not 
marry his second wife, Margaret Hay, until 1644. It 
was quite impossible that the countess could have 
eloped with Johnnie Faa while her husband was attend- 
ing the Assembly of Divines at Westminster in 1643, for 
the best of all reasons, that she was in her grave a year 
before the earl attended that notable Assembly. We 
feel satisfaction in quoting Mr Fraser's remark. c This, 1 
he says, * is a good proof of the value of preserving 
papers such as those contained in the present work. 
The fair fame of a lady had been tarnished by a 
romantic story, founded on the misapplication of a 
popular ballad* Her character is now cleared by the 
unerring testimony of contemporary writers.' 

So, down the wind to the limbo of malicious fabrica- 
tions, must now float the versified legend of Johnnie 



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SUSANNAH, COUNTESS OF EGLINTOUN. 137 

Faa, with all its picturesque particulars. How the 
worshippers of old ballads and mythic legends will hate 
the ransacking of charter-rooms ! 

Coming to Alexander, ninth Earl of Eglintoun, who 
succeeded his grandfather in 1701, we approach the 
dignified heroine of our story. His lordship was thrice 
married. His first wife was Lady Margaret Cochrane, 
a grand-daughter of the first Lord Dundonald. By this 
marriage, he had three sons and six daughters, a goodly 
family to begin with. Unfortunately, the sons died 
young. Next, his lordship married Lady Anne Gordon, 
eldest daughter of George, first Earl of Aberdeen, of 
which union there was only one surviving child, a 
daughter, Lady Mary, who grew up a celebrated beauty. 
It was gratifying to his lordship to have so fine a family 
of daughters, but he was anxious for a son and heir, 
whom the Countess Anne, from her failing health, did 
not seem likely to confer upon him. At this juncture, 
the blooming Susannah Kennedy, daughter of Sir 
Archibald Kennedy of Culzean, was introduced to the 
world of fashion in Edinburgh, about the time of the 
Union (1707), and attracted considerable attention. 
She was of lofty stature — it is said, six feet high — 
extremely handsome, of elegant carriage, and had a 
face and complexion of bewitching loveliness. A young 
lady of good family with such attractions, could not fail 
to have a vast following of suitors among the nobility 
and gentry. 

' Among her swains,' says the author of the Traditions 
of Edinburgh, i was Sir John Clerk of Penicuik, a man 
of learning and talent in days when such qualities were 
not common. As Miss Kennedy was fond of music, he 
sent her a flute as a gift; from which it may be 



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*38 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

surmised that this instrument was played by females in 
that age, while as yet the pianoforte was not When 
the young lady attempted to blow the instrument, some- 
thing was found to interrupt the sound, which tamed 
out to be a copy of verses in her praise : 

Harmonious pipe, I languish for thy bliss, 

When pressed to Silvia's lips with gentle kiss ! 

And when her tender fingers round thee move 

In soft embrace, I listen and approve 

Those melting notes which soothe my soul in love. 

Embalmed with odours from her breath that flow, 

You yield your music when she's pleased to blow ; 

And thus at once the charming lovely fair 

Delights with sounds, with sweets perfumes the air. 

Go, happy pipe, and ever mindful be 

To court bewitching Silvia for me ; 

Tell all I feel — you cannot tell too much — 

Repeat my love at each soft melting touch — 

Since I to her my liberty resign, 

Take thou the care to tune her heart to mine. 

' Unhappily for this accomplished and poetical lover, 
Lord Eglintoun's sickly wife happened just at this time 
to die, and set his lordship again at large among the 
spinsters of Scotland. Admirers of a youthful, impas- 
sioned, and sonnet-making cast, might have trembled at 
his approach to the shrine of their divinity ; for his lord- 
ship was one of those titled suitors, who, however old 
and ugly, are never rejected, except in novels and 
romances.' Perhaps Susannah Kennedy half anticipated 
that she would some day be married to Lord Eglintoun; 
there being a kind of prophecy in her father's family, 
that such an event was, from a certain omen, likely to 
take place. While one day walking in the garden at 
Culzean, there alighted upon her shoulder a hawk, with 



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SUSANNAH, COUNTESS OF EGLINTOUN. 139 

his lordship's name upon its bells, which was considered 
by the domestics to be an infallible prognostication 
of her fete. All things considered, Sir John Clerk had 
little chance of being accepted. ' It appears,' continues 
the writer of the Traditions, 'that poor Clerk actually 
made a declaration of his passion for Miss Kennedy, 
which her father was taking into consideration, a short 
while before the death of Lady Eglintoun. As an old 
friend and neighbour^ Sir Archibald thought he would 
consult the earl upon the subject, and he accordingly 
proceeded to do so. Short, but decisive, was the con- 
ference. " Bide a wee, Sir Archy," said his lordship ; 
" my wife *s very sickly." With Sir Archibald, as with 
Mrs Slipslop, the least hint sufficed : the case was at 
once settled against the elegant baronet of Penicuik. 
The lovely Susannah accordingly became in due time 
Countess of Eglintoun. , 

'Even after this attainment of one of the greatest 
blessings that life has to bestow, the old peer's happiness 
was like to have been destroyed by another untoward 
circumstance. It was true he had the handsomest wife 
in the kingdom, and she brought him as many children 
as he could desire. One after another came no fewer 
than seven daughters. But then his lordship wanted a 
male heir; and every one knows how poor a consolation 
a train of daughters, however long> proves in such a 
case.' At length, her ladyship brought him a son, and 
two other male children succeeded. The Earl of Eglin- 
toun died in 17^9, having from first to last by his three 
<wives had seventeen children. His widow, the Countess 
Susannah, now about forty years of age, is to be sup- 
posed to have had imposed on her considerable respon- 
sibility in taking charge of the younger members of the 



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140 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

family, more particularly as so many of them were 
daughters, requiring not only to be educated, but 
brought out in a becoming manner. Her ladyship, 
however, was self-possessed, had proper notions as to 
decorum, and was a first-rate manager. There was a 
lofty, yet genial style in her demeanour. She had a 
manner peculiar to herself, which inspired respect, and 
which was remembered as the Eglintoun air. 

In 1730, the countess had occasion to visit Bath, with 
two of her daughters, Lady Eleonora and Lady Mar- 
garet ; the former, on account of a temporary indisposi- 
tion, being recommended to drink the mineral waters. 
To travel to and from Bath, was at that time greatly more 
difficult than it is now to go round the world ; for the 
roads were awful, carriages were apt to be overturned 
and broken, and horses killed. Having reached her 
destination, not without misadventure, the difficulty was 
how to get safely home. To give an idea of Countess 
Susannah's scholarship, which was very much like, if not 
superior to, that of the best educated ladies of quality at 
the period — when little attention was paid to spelling— 
we transcribe a letter from her to a friend of the family, 
Lord Milton, dated Bath, November 9, 1730. 

* My dear lord — I did myself the pleasure of writting 
to you soon after I came to this place, but hes never 
yete heard on word from you ; pray what *s the matter ? 
Could I convie my self with the same ease as this letter, 
I vow I wou'd come and see. I can't say this place 
affords great pleasure to your humble servant. I have 
left too mannie attractives behind me to be sensible to 
waker influence. Ellie reaps not the benefite from the 
watters I hop'd for ; but be the evant what will, I have 
don my dutie, which gives a lasting comfort. You tak'd 



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SUSANNAH, COUNTESS OF EGLINTOUN. 141 

with uncertantie of coming to London. I shou'd be 
overjoy'd you did. The roads are so bat across the 
countrie that I darnot accross with an sote of horsess, 
so that I 'm oblig'd to goe that way, but I shall stie no 
longer then I kiss the Queen's hands. I hope to be in 
Scotland befor the end of next month. I beg you '1 send 
me a bill for 200 lb. upon the banke, least my monie 
shou'd run short, which I take all the care I can to pre- 
vent; but the surest way is to come soon home. If 
you pleas you may direct my letter to Earle Isla, and 
recommend my self as a verie tolirable piece of anti- 
quatie. Pegie's voice is much addmir'd. She hes had 
a master ever since I came here ; but I don't find her 
100 pound will goe a great way. Give mannie services 
for me to my dear cusin ; and assure the person with 
whom I dranke the possat that the thoughts of them is 
dear to me. If Mr Crawford be turn'd out as survior in 
Irvin, I wish you cou'd poot Mr Samuell Boyse in his 
place. He hes much merite.' 

Lady Eglintoun and her two daughters, by taking a 
circuitous route by way of London, were fortunate in 
getting home safely. In the metropolis for but a short 
time she shone as a star of the first magnitude. Though 
inheriting from the rough old cavalier, her father, certain 
Jacobite proclivities, she did not refrain from attending 
the court of George II., where her tall and graceful 
figure created no little admiration. A Scottish gentle- 
man writing from London in 1730, says: 'Lady Eglin- 
toun has set out for Scotland, much satisfied with the 
honour and civilities shewn her ladyship by the queen 
and all the royal family; she has done her country 
more honour than any lady I have seen here, both by a 
genteel and prudent behaviour.' 



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142 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

The Edinburgh mansion of the Eglintoun family was 
situated in a dingy court on the north side of High 
Street, latterly known as the Stamp-Office Close. Though 
hemmed in on all sides, it was a commodious building, 
with a handsome staircase, and an air of aristocratic 
distinction. Its chief drawback, according to modern 
notions, consisted in the narrow and mean entrance 
from the street, which, at the utmost, could admit only 
a sedan-chair with its bearers. Here, however, dwelt 
the Countess of Eglintoun, in a style befitting her rank, 
along with her daughters; and hence did they ceremoni- 
ously sally through the harrow passage, each in her 
sedan, to attend the fashionable balls in the Assembly 
Rooms, situated in the recesses of the Old Town — the 
procession lighted by links borne by servants and 
caddies. Tradition speaks of the goodly sight it was to 
see the long procession of sedans, containing Lady 
Eglintoun and her daughters, emerge from the close 
and proceed to the Assembly Rooms, where there was 
sure to be a crowd of admirers congregated to behold 
their lofty and graceful figures step from the chair to the 
pavement It could not certainly fail to be a remark- 
able sight — eight beautiful women, conspicuous for then 4 
stature and carriage, all dressed in the splendid though 
formal fashions of that period, and inspired with dignity 
of birth and consciousness of beauty. 

It was perhaps reckoned an eccentricity of character, 
in an age when the nobility were not signalised by a 
regard for learning and the fine arts, that the Countess 
Susannah manifested a kindly affection for literary 
talent. Allan Ramsay, the Scottish poet — affecting a 
relationship with the Ramsays of Dalhousie, and refer- 
ring to them as 



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SUSANNAH, COUNTESS OF EGUNTOUN. 143, 

Dalhousie of an anld descent, 

My prop, my stoop, my ornament — 

was not slack in discovering the Countess Susannah as 
an encourager of literary effort As Gay found an 
indulgent patron in Kitty, Duchess of Queensbeny, so 
did Ramsay, in launching the Gentle Shepherd, ky that 
chanmng pastoral drama at the feet of the Countess of 
Eghntoun. We know not, after an interval of a hundred 
and fifty years, how far the dedication — full of extrava- 
gant praise — helped the author to secure public atten- 
tion. It was probably of no permanent value, for the 
merits of the work would in time have given it a high 
place in literature. If possible, to secure success at a. 
rime when efforts of this kind were doubtful, the drama 
was prefaced by verses by Hamilton of Bangour* 
laudatory of the! Countess of Eglintoun, and embody- 
ing a just compliment to herself and her daughters. 
The verses have been quoted a hundred times ; but in 
honour of Susannah, we give them once more : 

In virtues rich, in goodness unconfined, 
Thou shin'st a fair example to thy kind ; 
Sincere, and equal to thy neighbours' fame, 
How swift to praise, how obstinate to blame ! 
Bold in thy presence bashfulness appears, 
And backward merit loses all its fears. 
Supremely blest by Heaven, Heaven's richest grace 
Confessed is thine — an early blooming race ; 
Whose pleasing smiles shall guardian wisdom arm — 
Divine instruction ! — taught of thee to charm, 
What transports shall they to thy soul impart 
(The conscious transports of a parent's heart), 
When thou behold'st them of each grace possessed, 
And sighing youths imploring to be blest, 
After thy image formed, with charms like thine, 
Or m the visit or the dance to shine ; 



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144 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

Thrice happy who succeed their mother's praise, 
The lovely Eglintouns of other days 2 

One is pleased to know that Lady Betty, Lady 
Margaret, and the other 'lovely Eglintouns of other 
days/ made good matches, and were the mothers of men 
more or less distinguished for intellectual attainments. 
Some of the best blood in Scotland in the present day 
can be traced to these ladies. Besides watching over 
her daughters, the countess had to care for the education 
of her eldest son, Alexander, who was a mere boy when 
he succeeded as tenth Earl of Eglintoun. He was an 
especial favourite of her ladyship. Putting him under 
the direction of tutors, and living with him most of the 
year at Eglintoun, and more lately at the interesting old 
mansion of Auchans, she, in her formal ceremonious 
way, always addressed him, though a boy, as Lord 
Eglintoun, and commanded all the family and domestics 
to do the same. Every day, his lordship, with courtly 
state, led his mother to the dinner-table. The enter- 
tainments which she gave on special occasions, both 
for the dignity of the guests and the magnificence of 
the service, were seldom or never equalled in those 
days. 

It is sorrowful to turn from this picture of maternal 
complacency to the tragical circumstance which clouded 
the evening of a bright and happy life. Her son, the 
young Earl Alexander, grew up all that a mother could 
desire — the pride and hope of the family. Under the 
responsibilities of his position, he made spirited exer- 
tions to improve the agriculture of the county of Ayr, 
and to diffuse an enterprising system of rural industry. 
At much expense, and with considerate taste, he planted 
trees, and laid out the extensive grounds around the 



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SUSANNAH, COUNTESS OF EGLINTOUN 145 

family seat, so as to make the place one of the most 
beautiful in Scotland. How abruptly was this promising 
young nobleman to be cut off from a scene so enviable ! 
On the 24th of October 1769, he left Eglintoun Castle 
on horseback, his carriage and four servants attending, 
and stopped at Ardrossan parks, where he observed a 
man with a gun in his hand in the act of poaching for 
game. The man was Mungo Campbell, an officer of 
excise, who had been already challenged and forgiven 
for this offence. Somewhat precipitately, as we think, 
the earl insisted on Campbell giving up his gun, which 
he refused Xo do. In a case of this kind, the proper 
course would have been, not to have acted as a con- 
stable, but to appeal to legal process. In his eager- 
ness, however, the earl repeated his demand, at the same 
time advancing on Campbell, who, stepping backwards, 
stumbled on a stone, and fell. In rising, as is alleged, 
he pointed the gun at Lord Eglintoun, and fired, and 
lodged the whole charge in the body of his lordship. 
The wound was mortal. He was carried to Eglintoun 
Castle, where he died in about twelve hours afterwards ; 
his decease being universally regretted. Campbell, a 
man with good connections, was brought to trial for 
murder at Edinburgh. It was shewn that the crime was 
committed without premeditation, and therefore to be 
viewed leniently ; but, by a majority of nine to six, the 
jury gave a verdict of guilty, and Campbell was con- 
demned to be executed. The unfortunate man, how- 
ever, could not brook the idea of an ignominious 
death. On the morning after his trial, he hanged 
himself in his cell 

At the time of Lord Eglintoun's death, his mother 
was living at Auchans, which is at some distance, in 

J 



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146 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

the neighbourhood of Irvine. Being immediately sent 
for, she was stunned with the sudden shock, but hurry- 
' ing off, she was able to reach Eglintoun Castle before 
the young earl expired. The tenderness he displayed 
towards her and others is said to have been to the 
last degree noble and affecting. Though bearing up 
with pious resignation, the countess never entirely 
recovered from the loss which she and the family 
generally had sustained. Alexander, tenth Earl of 
Eglintoun, having died unmarried, his titles and estates 
devolved on his brother Archibald, who thus became 
eleventh earl. 

Archibald was married, and had two daughters.' 
Dying without a male heir, and his younger brother 
having predeceased him, the titles, and most of the 
estates, were inherited by his cousin, Hugh Mont- 
gomerie of Coilsfield, as a descendant of Alexander, 
the sixth earl. Previous to his accession to the peer- 
age, Hugh had figured as a soldier in the Seven 
Years' War, had won applause by his care and skill in 
engineering the Highland roads, and also, for his 
integrity, had been elected member of parliament for 
Ayrshire. In this latter capacity, he was the 'soger 
Hugh ' of Burns, not noted for his oratory : 

See, soger Hugh, my watchman stented, 

If bardies e'er are represented ; 
I ken if that your sword were wanted, 

Ye 'd lend a hand, 
But when there 's ought to say anent it. 

Ye 're at a stand. 

' Soger Hugh/ the twelfth Earl of Eglintoun, lived to 
the advanced age of eighty, and died in 1819. 
As regards the Countess Susannah, she latterly lived 



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SUSANNAH, COUNTESS OF EGLINTOUN. 147 

in comparative retirement at Auchans, and there her 
ladyship was visited by Johnson and Boswdl on their 
return from their memorable tour to the Hebrides. 
The countess was so well pleased with Dr Johnson, 
his politics, and his conversation, that she embraced 
and kissed him at parting, an honour of which he was 
ever afterwards extremely proud. Boswell gives an 
amusing account of the interview. 'Lady Eglintoun/ 
he says, ' though she was now in her eighty-fifth year, 
and had lived in the country almost half a century, was 
still a very agreeable woman. Her figure was majestic, 
her manners high-bred, her reading extensive, and her 
conversation elegant. She had been the admiration of 
the gay circles, and the patroness of poets. Dr Johnson 
was delighted with his reception here. Her prin- 
ciples of church and state were congenial with his. In 
the course of conversation, it came out that Lady 
Eglintoun was married the year before Dr Johnson 
was born ; upon which she graciously said to him that 
she might have been his mother, and she now adopted 
him.' 

Returning to the account of her ladyship in the Tra- 
ditions, we have some curious particulars of the manner 
in which she amused herself in her concluding years, in 
taming and patronising rats. * She kept a vast number 
of these animals in her pay at Auchans, and they suc- 
ceeded in her affections to the poets and artists with 
whom she had been acquainted in early life. It does 
not reflect much credit on the latter, that her ladyship 
used to complain of never having met with true grati- 
tude except from four-footed animals. She had a panel 
in the oak wainscot of her dining-room, which she 
tapped upon at meal-times, when ten or twelve jolly 



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i 4 S STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

rats came tripping forth, and joined her at table. At 
the word of command, or a signal from her ladyship, 
they retired obediently to their native obscurity — a trait 
of good sense in the character and habits of the animals, 
which it is hardly necessary to remark, patrons do not 
always find in two-legged prote'geV 

This venerable lady, who was born just at the 
Revolution which had brought William and Mary to 
the throne, drew out existence till 1780, and died at 
the ripe age of ninety-one. She preserved her stately 
mien and beautiful complexion to the last Her skin 
was of exquisite delicacy, and its fineness, which was a 
mystery to many ladies not a third of her age, is said 
to have been due to the fact, that she never used paint 
or cosmetic, but daily washed her face with sows' milk 
— a secret, it seems to us, worth knowing. Of course, 
our lady readers will understand that we do not vouch 
for the accuracy of this interesting tradition concerning 
the Countess Susannah; but it is not unlikely to be 
true. Poppaea, the wife of Nero, with a view to pro- 
longing her beauty, bathed periodically in asses' milk ; 
and sows' milk perhaps possesses superior virtues as a 
beautifying article for the toilet. 

One cannot but regret that Auchans Castle, a fine 
specimen of an old Scottish manor-house, with towers, 
picturesque gables, wainscoted apartments, antique 
chimney-pieces, and reverentially classic from the visit 
of Johnson, is now uninhabited, and fast hastening to 
decay. In some measure as a compensation, 'soger 
Hugh' rebuilt and enlarged the castle of Eglintoun; 
and, what was more important in a national point of 
view, he, at his own expense, constructed the harbour 
of Ardrossan, now a useful sea-port on the coast of 



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SUSANNAH, COUNTESS OF EGLINTOUN. 149 

Ayrshire. * Soger Hugh * was succeeded by his grand- 
son, Archibald William, thirteenth Earl of Eglintoun, an 
excellent and justly popular nobleman, for some time 
Lord-lieutenant of Ireland, but who is perhaps best 
remembered in connection with that chivalric display, 
the Eglintoun Tournament As already told in one of 
our stories, his lordship was served heir to the titles 
of the Setons, Earls of Wintoun. He was thereafter 
created Earl of Wintoun in the peerage of Great 
Britain, with limitation to heirs-male. His son, Archi- 
bald William Montgomerie (paternally Seton), the four- 
teenth and present earl, succeeded to the honours of 
this old and distinguished family in 1861. 

We should not close our sketch without mentioning 
that Mr Fraser's superb work, which few have an 
opportunity of seeing, is enriched with a number of 
family portraits, including those of Greysteil in the 
armour he wore during the Civil Wars, and of 
Susannah, Countess of Eglintoun, in the pearls and 
resplendent beauty with which she shone in the early 
part of her wedded career. 



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STORY OF LADY FORBES. 



HPHE family of Forbes in its several leading branches 
-^ is one of the oldest and most honourable in 
Aberdeenshire, for it was historically signalised as far 
back as the early part of the fifteenth century. One of 
its branches was raised to the peerage in the person 
of Sir Alexander de Forbes, in 1436, one of whose 
descendants is, at this day, the Premier Baron of Scot- 
land. A brother of this Sir Alexander was ancestor of 
Alexander Forbes of Pitsligo, who was elevated to the 
peerage in 1633. As Lord Pitsligo, he had three suc- 
cessors in regular descent, the last of them being the 
unfortunate Alexander, fourth Lord Pitsligo, attainted 
for his accession to the Rebellion of 1745 ; his estates 
being at the same time escheated and sold by the crown. 
From the simplicity pf his character, his scholarly tastes, 
and other circumstances, he has been fitly represented 
as a good prototype of the Baron of Bradwardine in 
Waverley. Another branch of the family was that of the 
Forbeses of Monymusk, raised to a baronetcy in 1626. 
They did not come to ruin in the same way as their 
cousins of Pitsligo ; there was no rebellion in the case ; 
but the ruin financially was not less complete. To 



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STORY OF LADY FORBES. 15T 

appease creditors, Monymusk had to be sold. It was 
a sad affair to leave the old venerated home, but for it 
there was no help. When a landed gentleman is en- 
cumbered with debts and difficulties, the best thing he . 
can do is to denude himself of his responsibilities, and 
start unembarrassed on a new and hopeful career. Sir 
William Forbes was quite alive to a step of this kind ; 
but when the day came for bidding adieu to his paternal 
inheritance, he drove away from the old home with a 
pang of regret The sacrifice was made. 

It was not left for this impoverished gentleman to 
recoup the family fortunes. His son, who died before 
him, married a lady, a descendant of the third Lord 
Pitsligo, and those two had a son, William, who, with- 
out fortune, became an advocate at the Scottish Bar. 
In the family history we do not hear much of the 
advocate. As a poor baronet, his title was perhaps an 
encumbrance. He, at anyrate, made a fair effort at 
professional advancement, and in domestic concerns 
was helped by a good wife, Christian Forbes, daughter 
of Forbes of Boyndlie, to whom he was married in 1730. 
Known in her time as Dame or Lady Christian Forbes, 
she performed a part which has been rarely equalled 
for dignity and self-reliance in circumstances somewhat 
trying for one in her social position. 

Looking around in the present day, we on all hands 
see people with no special pretensions as to rank living 
in houses more superb, salubrious, and comfortable than 
those occupied by princes of the blood a hundred and 
fifty years ago. The progress made by wealth and taste 
within three or four generations is beyond the dreams 
of romance. When, in 1730, Lady Forbes arrived in 
Edinburgh as a newly married wife, the home to which 



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^ 




152 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

she was introduced was such as would now be occupied 

by about the humblest family in the city. Edinburgh 

had not yet expanded north or south. There was no 

New Town. The population was crowded into a single 

"ancient street, with dingy diverging closes or lanes. 

High and low, rich and poor, were accommodated in 

the same tall buildings, with no other distinction than 

that the poorer dwelt in the cellars and garrets, while 

the nobility and gentry had the run of the first and 

second floors. It was a curiously intermingled state of 

society, shockingly incommodious, but droll and amus- 

j ing, and not without some good points ; for proximity 

/ in residence led to general sympathy and a certain 

I kindliness of intercourse, which cannot be said to prevail 

^in these later times. Near the centre of the town there 

were lanes specially preferred as the residence of lawyers, 

as they could thence walk conveniently in their gowns 

and wigs to the courts in the Parliament House. 

It was in one of these confined alleys that Lady 
Forbes took up house with her husband, and here she 
had several children, three of whom — a son and two 
daughters, died, leaving her, however, two sons to 
occupy her attention. In 1743 came a greater calamity. 
That year, her husband, Sir William, died, and having 
no longer any reason to reside in Edinburgh, she 
removed to Aberdeen, in order to educate her two boys 
with a frugality suitable to her means. In 1749, she 
lost the younger of the two; and now only one, the 
youthful Sir William Forbes, engaged her motherly care. 
At the excellent seminaries in Aberdeen, he received an 
education at an expense so small as to put to shame the 
extravagant outlay that would now be incurred in more 
modern establishments. At length, a time came when 



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STOR Y OF LAD Y FORBES. 153 

it was necessary for the youth to adopt a means of 
livelihood. The learned professions were thought of; 
but besides that the education for any of these was 
costly, they were at the best precarious. Years might 
be spent, with no satisfactory result. Lady Forbes took 
the wise resolution of putting her son to a commercial 
profession; and through the interest of a friend, Mr 
Farquharson, accountant, was fortunate in getting him 
appointed as an apprentice to Messrs Courts, bankers in 
Edinburgh. To that city she accordingly proceeded 
with the youth in October 1753, when he was fifteen 
years of age. 

In a narrative regarding his mother lately published, 
Sir William presents us with an account of the economy 
which she practised on returning to Edinburgh. It 
cannot fail to be read with the deepest interest * My 
mother/ he says, ' did not at first begin housekeeping by 
herself, but we lodged and boarded with a gentlewoman, 
the widow of Alexander Symmer, a respectable book- 
seller in the Parliament Square, with whose family my 
brother and mother had been well acquainted. And it 
is worth recording, as a proof of the difference of the 
expense of housekeeping at that time in Edinburgh, 
that the sum we paid for board and lodging was no 
more than at the rate of ^20 a year for each of us. 
We drank no wine, indeed; but Mrs Symmer's table, 
though plainly, was plentifully supplied. At Whit- 
Sunday 1754, my apprenticeship commenced, when my 
mother took possession of a small house, which she 
hired and furnished in Forrester's Wynd.' A * wynd,' 
we stop to say, is a lane somewhat wider than the 
ordinary closes, and considered to be more of a gen- 
eral thoroughfare. Forrester's Wynd, which formed a 



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k 



154 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

passage from the Lawnmarket to the Cowgate, is now 
obliterated, having been cleared away to make room for 
the buildings of the Advocates' Library. ' The house so 
rented in this dingy alley/ continues Sir William, 'con- 
sisted of a couple of rooms, a bed-closet and kitchen, all 
j on the same floor, as was the manner in which houses 
Twere occupied at that time in Edinburgh ; the rent was 
51 only j£j a year, and our establishment comprised a 
( single maid-servant, who sufficiently answered ever/ 
purpose of our private mode of living. 

* Yet in this humble manner my mother preserved a 
_ dignity and respectable independence, and properly 
**""" supported the character of my father's widow. Dinners 
and suppers of ceremony she gave none, except one 
supper in the course of the year to the gentlemen to 
whom I was apprentice. But she was visited by persons 
, of the first distinction, whom she received at tea in the 
/^t. afternoon. This was a mode of entertainment much 
~T practised at that time in Edinburgh, though now totally 
1 disused in the refinement and extravagance of modern 
luxury, and it was a custom productive of many advan- 
tages. Not only were persons of the highest birth, 
^ though of slender income, enabled in this inexpensive 
— / manner to entertain those friends whom they could not 
/ afford to receive in any other manner, but the drawing- 
$( / rooms of ladies of the most opulent families, where 
dinners and suppers were given, were generally frequented 
\ in the afternoon by the young and old of both sexes, and 
thus became a school where elegance of manner, and a 
/ taste for polite and sensible conversation, were acquiredf 
j which we look for in vain in the present state of society, 
! where in general there is more of form than of real kind- 
\ ness, more of vanity and expensive show than of genuine 



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7\ 

7? 



STOR Y OF LAD Y FORBES. 155 

hospitality. Those circles at that time in Edinburgh, ^ 
the very remembrance of which is worn out, except J 
among a few old people, were select, though not / 
numerous, and very unlike indeed to the crowded routs \ 
and assemblies of the present day. We afterwards * 
occupied various houses in other parts of the town, but 
always in the same humble and low-rented style, such as 
our slender income could afford, which at that time very 
little exceeded a hundred pounds a year.' 

In this simple and very charming account of how a 
young baronet and his mother lived, when in depressed 
circumstances, about the middle of last century, we have 

a glimpse of the change of manners which had already 

taken place thirty years later. At the earlier period — * 
say 1755 *° 1765— dinner appears to have taken place L— — — 
in good society at from two to three o'clock ; then therev 
was tea at five to six, being the meeting which Sir! "*~— 
William so heartily eulogises; lastly, supper at eight? 
o'clock. It is curious to note that under different desig- 
nations the meals at the present day are but a repetition 
of what prevailed a hundred and twenty years ago. For 1 
dinner we have to substitute the word luncheon ; for the '\KT 
afternoon tea we have the modern kettle-drum, or tea at J/ 
' five o'clock ; and supper is represented by the seven or 
eight o'clock dinner. There must, one would think, be 
something inherent in natural wants and tastes, that, 
despite of fashion, brings society round to the usages 
prevalent in the days of our great-grandmothers. The 
only thing to be seriously regretted is, that the old- 
fashioned, cheerful supper, with its songs and genial / — -~ 
intercourse, should be so poorly represented by the 1 
stiffly ceremonious and costly dinner of our own times. 
Meanwhile, how was Sir William getting on as an 



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156 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

apprentice to the Messrs Coutts, who carried, on their 
banking concern on the third floor of a building in the 
Parliament Square ? Previous to his being taken as an 
apprentice, old John Coutts, the father of the family, 
and who was for some time Lord Provost of Edinburgh, 
died (1750), and now the business was conducted chiefly 
by his sons. Of these, John, the second son, took the 
leading management, and it was to his counsels and 
example that the young baronet owed much of his 
success. John, however, died in 1761 ; his place being 
taken by his next younger brother, James, on whom 
devolved an additional burden, for Patrick, the eldest, 
and Thomas, the youngest son, had gone to conduct a 
branch of the business in London. These clearances, 
along with several changes in the copartnery, were not 
unfavourable to the advancement of young Forbes, 
who, from apprentice, rose to be a clerk and assistant 
manager. In 1763, his excellent abilities and application 
to business induced the firm to admit him as a partner. 
In these various steps in his progress, we are to view 
Sir William as guided not less by principles of integrity 
and assiduity, than by a deep-seated wish to earn means 
for recovering the estates lost by family misfortune— 
Pitsligo or Monymusk, as might be most available. 
That, he constantly kept in view. It served as an 
honourable incitement, which overcame petty difficulties 
and privations, and silently spurred him on with a reso- 
lution which no obstacle could abate. 

It was a great thing for him to feel that, small as was 
his share in the business of the firm, he was on the way 
to fortune. All he had to do was to continue to be 
frugal and industrious. In rising in the world, he could 
not of course adhere to the scrupulously economical 



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STORY OF LADY FORBES. 157 

routine with which he and his mother had begun house- 
keeping in Forrester's Wynd. In the narrative already 
referred to, he proceeds to mention how the modest 
manage was expanded: 'We removed to a somewhat 
better house, and a little enlarged our household, by 
first keeping a foot-boy, and afterwards a man-servant. 
But we still continued to live in a very retired manner ; 
for although we began occasionally to have a few 
friends with us at dinner or supper, I was careful not to 
oppress her with too much company, to which, for 
many years since the death of my father, she had not 
been accustomed, and the entertaining of whom was, by 
consequence, a greater fatigue than I was willing she 
should undergo. In this manner we lived during other 
seven years, until the period of my marriage. ' 

Sir William Forbes was married in 1770 to Elizabeth, 
eldest daughter of Dr (afterwards Sir James) Hay; a 
union productive of much happiness to his future life. 
This event obliged him to separate from his mother, the 
old and venerated guide of his infant years. She con- 
tinued from that time to live alone ; her residence being 
still in one of the obscurities of the Old Town. Accord- 
ing to Peter Williamson's Street Directory for 1784, her 
ladyship occupied a dwelling in Gray's Close, and there, 
we infer, she remained till her decease. Her concluding 
years formed a period of unbroken tranquillity and 
retirement Blessed with a serene and contented dis- 
position, enjoying the kindness of her son, and gratified 
by the rising prosperity and high character which he 
had obtained ; and fortunate in seeing the fortunes of 
her own and her husband's family rapidly reviving 
under his successful exertions, she lived happy and con- 
tented to an extreme old age, calmly awaiting the 



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158 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

approach of death, to which she looked forward neither 
with desire nor apprehension. After a life of unblem- 
ished virtue, sincere piety, and ceaseless duty, she died 
on the 26th December 1789. It is impossible to 
imagine a long life brought to a happier or more 
enviable conclusion. 

Lady Forbes's habits- of exactness regarding daily 
expenditure were something remarkable. She ran no 
bills, but paid for everything with ready-money; and, 
says Sir William, ' it was very singular, that when she 
died, except her house-rent and servant's wages, the day 
of payment of which was not yet come, and the account 
of bread and beer for her family, which she was in the 
habit of paying regularly at the end of every month, not 
a single farthing was due to any tradesman whom she 
employed. She carried this degree of regularity so far, 
that wishing to give half a guinea to a poor woman to 
whom she occasionally gave alms, as the last bounty 
she might have it in her power to bestow on her, she 
had it wrapped in a bit of paper, and pinned it to her 
bed-curtains, in order that it might be in readiness 
against the first time the poor woman might call, and 
where we found it after her death. It will scarcely be 
doubted that I was at pains to discover the woman, and 
gave her the money. We found, too, one of her shifts 
wrapped up by itself, with a person's name pinned on it, 
of which we were at a loss to discover the meaning, 
until her maid-servant informed us that a poor woman 
having requested that my mother would furnish a shift 
to wrap her body in after she should be dead, she had 
laid this one aside for that purpose, probably thinking 
that it would not be so safe in the woman's custody as 
her own. She had been all her life accustomed to keep 



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STOR Y OF LAD Y FORBES. 159 

a written and very minute account of her personal and 
family expenses. Her books and everything else in her 
possession were found in as exact order as if, previous 
to her last illness, and before her strength failed, she 
had actually known that her life was so near a close. 
A rare instance of that watchfulness which is the duty 
of all, but, unhappily, practised by so few.' 

The brothers Courts having died out or quitted the 
banking concern, and gone to London, the business in 
the Parliament Square at length was carried on by Sir 
William Forbes and his partner, Sir James Hunter 
Blair, with, ultimately, Sir John Hay. It was long a 
flourishing business, and is now merged in the Union 
Bank of Scotland. Eminently successful, and much 
esteemed for his worth, Sir William Forbes filled a 
number of honorary public offices in Edinburgh. Ad- 
mired for his benevolence, accomplished in his manners, 
and tall and graceful in person, he was in his latter 
days one of the notabilities of his time. It is inter- 
esting to know that he realised the long-cherished 
object of his life. By several different purchases, 1 
he acquired the estate of Pitsligo, that had been 
forfeited in 1745; he forthwith proceeded to bring the / 
lands into the best state of cultivation, and to* effect I 
a variety of other improvements. The health of this \ 
estimable person began to decline in 1791, and in 1802 
Lady Forbes died, a circumstance which sensibly 
affected his spirits. Yet, he was able to devote a 
portion of his time to literature. He wrote the Memoir 
of a Banking-house, being that in which he had been 
long concerned, the object of the work being to impress 
on his eldest son and successor those correct principles 
of business management by which he had himself been 



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/M 



i6o STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 



m 



guided. He likewise wrote the Life of his friend Dr 
Beattie, which met a favourable reception, not merely 
s an elegant narration of the biography of an eminent 
man, but as preserving a great amount of the general 
literary history of the country which must have other- 
wise perished. He did not long outlive this effort 
After being some months confined to the house, he 
died in November 1806, surrounded by his friends, and 
inspired by every hope which a virtuous and useful life 
is capable of affording. Sir William Forbes had a 
large family of sons and daughters, from whom sprung 
numerous descendants connected with law, science, 
and literature. 

Had Sir William Forbes lived in our own day, he 
would probably have been a contributor to various 
periodicals, for, from the quantity of miscellaneous 
papers which he wrote and left to his family, he appears 
to have devoted much of his time to literary composi- 
tion. The more notable of these papers, a Narrative 
of the Last Sickness and Death of Dame Christian Forbes, 
has been published after an interval of nearly ninety 
years. It is from this interesting posthumous work 
we have been able to draw some of the particulars of 
the foregoing sketch. Appropriately, the volume was 
edited by a grandson of Sir William, namely, Alex- 
ander P. Forbes, Bishop of Brechin, one of the most 
erudite men in Scotland, and combining in a remark- 
able degree the estimable qualities of his family, but on* 
whom, amidst universal regret, the tomb was prema- 
turely closed. As a view of past manners, of which 
we have presented a feeble outline, the book forms an 
acceptable contribution to literature. 



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STORY OF 
KITTY, DUCHESS OF QUEENSBERRY. 



'T'HE long-distinguished Queensberry family traced 
A its descent from no mean source — Sir William 
Douglas, son of James, Earl of Douglas and Mar, 
killed at the battle of Otterburn, a noted Border fight 
with the Percies, in 1388, commemorated in the ballad 
of Chevy Chase. History records how this branch of 
the House of Douglas rose to the peerage through 
the gradations of Baron, Viscount, Earl, Marquis, and 
finally Duke of Queensberry in the reign of Charles II. 
William, first Duke of Queensberry, was a saving, 
painstaking personage, and a prodigious land-buyer, in ^ 
which he shewed his sagacity, for, in the progress of 
affairs in a limited territory, nothing is so sure to rise 
in value as land. He added greatly to the family" 
domain in Dumfriesshire, and made a splendid bargain 
by purchasing, from the Earl of Tweeddale, the exten- 
sive Neidpath estates in Peeblesshire for little more 
than twenty-three thousand pounds, which now yield ^ 
to his heirs about twelve thousand pounds a year. He 
left a son, James, who became second Duke; another 
son, William, first Earl of March ; a third son, George, 

k 



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162 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

who died unmarried; a daughter, Lady Jean, who 
married Francis, Earl of Dalkeith, afterwards Duke of 
Buccleuch; Lady Anne, who was married to David, 
Lord Elcho, afterwards third Earl of Wemyss. We 
mention these facts for their special bearing on the 
history of the family. An apparently trifling thing in 
the history of the peerage disperses titles and estates in 
different directions. 

Duke William, the first Duke, with his famous bar- 

~" gaining in lands, we willingly pass over. The greatest 
man of the family, as we conceive him to have been, 

_^was James, second Duke of Queensberry, an adherent 
/of King William, and afterwards of Queen Anne, who, 
((for his prudence and good business qualities, was 
^constituted High Commissioner to the last Scottish 
parliament in 1706, with a view to carry out that 
important undertaking, the Union between England and 
Scotland, It was a delicate and difficult affair. The 
English were prepared to go into any reasonable 
arrangement, so that they might be no longer tortured 
with a resolute and independent power in their rear. 
The Scotch, on the other hand, were by no means 
inclined to the alliance; and it required dexterity — as 
well as some cash — to overcome the scruples of the 
more obstreperous. The Duke being duly empowered 
to overcome all obstacles, took up his quarters with 
his family in Edinburgh. Here he owned a spacious 
mansion built by his father, still known as Queensberry 

— House, situated in the Canongate, at a short distance 
from the Palace of Holyrood, in which were the official 
apartments of the Royal Commissioner. 

High in the esteem of the court, and generally 
admired for his ability — and by none more than Defoe, 



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KITTY, DUCHESS OF QUEENSBERR V. 163 

m his History of the Union — the Duke of Queensberry 
suffered from a painful domestic affliction, His eldest 
surviving son, James, known as Earl of Drumlanrig, 
was a rabid idiot In the present day, the unfortunate 
being would have been consigned for proper treatment 
to an asylum for youths in his condition ; but in those 
times imbeciles of all sorts were allowed to ramble 
about at pleasure, or, if dangerous, were put under 
some severe restraint by their parents. In the case of 
the young Earl, care was taken to confine him in a 
ground apartment in the western wing of Queensberry 
House, the windows of which were boarded up, to 
prevent the poor inmate from looking out or being seen. 
Immured in this fashion, in a half-darkened apartment, 
the young Earl was not neglected as regards animal 
comforts. He had servants to attend upon him, and 
was well fed. By want of exercise and a profuse diet, 
he grew to an enormous size and stature. 

So stood matters on that memorable 12th October 
1707, when the vote of a majority of the Scots parlia- 
ment was to be given for the Treaty of Union. There 
were frantic yellings in the streets. The nation was 
going to be sold and ruined. The retainers of the 
Duke of Queensberry were delirious in favour of the 
Union. To bear bulk in the general commotion, they 
•resolved, one and all, to sally forth in favour of the 
unpopular act The whole household, accordingly, 
sallied out en masse, and, among the rest, was the man 
whose special duty it was to attend and watch Lord 
Drumlanrig. All went off to the show but the idiot 
Earl and a kitchen-boy who turned the spit The 
house being silent, and no one on guard, the Earl broke 
loose from confinement, and roamed wildly through the 



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164 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

mansion. It is supposed that the savoury odour of the 
preparation for dinner led him to the kitchen, where he 
found the little turnspit quietly seated by the fire. What 
a frightful atrocity ensued ! He seized the boy, killed 
him, took the meat from the fire, and spitted the body 
of his victim, which he had half roasted when the Duke 
with his domestics returned from his triumph in the 
Parliament House. We pass over the consternation 
that prevailed. The idiot survived his father many 
years, though he did not succeed him upon his death 
in 17 1 1, when the titles and estates devolved upon 
Charles, the younger brother. 

Now comes the history of Charles, third Duke of 
Queensberry, somewhat in the character of a farce after 
a tragedy. The change is, at all events, amusing, and 
enlightens us as to the manners of a century and a half 
ago. Duke Charles, born in Queensberry House in 
1698, is described as being an estimable personage, but 
less of a statesman than his father. He is heard of 
chiefly through his wife, Lady Catherine Hyde, second 
daughter of Henry, Earl of Clarendon, and grand- 
daughter of Lord-chancellor Clarendon, the eminent 
historian and statesman. In a worldly point of view, 
the marriage, which took place in 1720, was for both 
parties all that could be desired. It is unpleasant to 
say so, but we think the Duke had cause to rue the 
bargain. Duchess Catherine, or 'Kitty,' as she was 
called by the wits and poets of the period, was one 
of those young ladies of quality who, in their unregu- 
lated and boisterous spirits, consider themselves absolved 
from etiquette, and can do what they like. 

Of all the female eccentricities of the period, none 
exceeded Duchess Kitty. At an early period of her 



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KITTY, DUCHESS OF QUEENSBERRY. 165 

life, Prior— as alluded to in our Story of Lady Jane 
Douglas— had depicted her irrepressible temper 2 

Thus Kitty, beautiful and young, 

And wild as colt untamed, 
Bespoke the fair from whom she sprung, 

By little rage inflamed : 

Inflamed with rage at sad restraint,. 

Which wise mammas ordained ; 
And sorely vexed to play the saint, 

Whilst wit and beauty reigned. 

Shall I thumb holy books, confined 

With Abigails forsaken? 
Kitty 's for other things designed, 

Or I am much mistaken. 

Must Lady Jenny frisk about, 

And visit with her cousins ? 
At balls must she make all the rout, 

And bring home hearts by dozens ? 

What has she better, pray, than I? 

What hidden charms to boast, 
That all mankind for her should die, 

Whilst I am scarce a toast ? * 

Dearest mamma, for once let me, 

Unchained, my fortune try ; 
I '11 have my earl as well as she, 

Or know the reason why. 

I'll soon with Jenny's pride quit score, 

Make all her lovers fall ; 
They '11 grieve I was not loosed before ; 

She, I was loosed at all. 

Fondness prevailed ; mamma gave way : 

Kitty, at heart's desire, 
Obtained the chariot for a day, 

And set the world on fire. 



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166 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

With her dash and brilliance, as we see, Kitty caught 
Charles, Duke of Queensberry — a good thing for her, 
but not, as it happened, so agreeable a matter for the 
Duke, who must have been sorely tried with her imperi- 
ous temper and vagaries. Kitty was to a certain extent 
mad. That is the most charitable view to take of her. 

* Her madness partook of a queer compound of good- 
heartedness, ridiculous whimsicality, and self-assertion. 

I To herself, she was her own law — not at all an un- 
common weakness, and more common, however, in past 
times than now, when society has shaken itself into 
regularly recognised grooves. As for Duchess Kitty, 
she had her flatterers and parasites. She was admired 
for her beauty, her agreeable freedom of carriage and 
vivacity of mind, and wheresoever she went, had a 
coterie of adherents. 

Eccentric in all her ways, the Duchess took a 
pleasure in dressing herself like a peasant-girl, and so 
enjoying the astonishment of those who discovered her 
in her plain attire. An anecdote is related of her 
having shewn contempt for an order that was issued, 
forbidding ladies to come to the Drawing-Room in 
aprons. Equipping herself in the forbidden garment, 
she went off to court. On approaching the door, she 
was stopped by the lord in waiting, who told her that 
he could not possibly give Her Grace admission in that 
guise, when she, without a moment's hesitation, stripped 
off her apron, threw it in his lordship's face, and walked 
on in her brown gown and petticoat into the brilliant 
circle. 

The most notable of Kitty's proceedings was her 
quarrelling with the king, George II.; his queen, 
Caroline ; and the prime-minister, Sir Robert Walpole. 



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KITTY, DUCHESS OF QUEENSBERRY 167 

It is amusing to look back to 1729, and see how little 
could then throw the court into a state of extreme 
perturbation — not a foreign war, not a contest about 
the dynasty, not a national convulsion, but the per- 
formance of Gay's Beggar? Opera. From its wit and 
drollery, its satirical allusions, and its songs, the piece, 
though depicting not very agreeable scenes among 
certain criminal classes, was amazingly successful. The 
author offered it first to Cibber of Drury Lane Theatre, 
and it was rejected. It was then presented to Rich, 
who had it acted at his theatre in Lincoln's Inn Fields, 
and with such marked success as to give rise to the 
saying, that it made Gay rich, and Rich gay. Swift, 
Pope, and the whole of the association of wits of that 
day, took care to be present at its first performance. 
It had a run of sixty-three nights without intermission, 
and was immediately acted at all the principal theatres 
in England, Scotland, and Ireland. For a time, it 
created quite a mania. Ladies carried about with them 
the favourite songs of Macheath and Polly in their fans, 
and houses were decorated with pictures from its scenes. 
Miss Fenton, who first acted Polly, till then obscure, 
rose to distinction, and became Duchess of Bolton. . 
For a season, the play drove the Italian opera out of 
England. 

Opinions differed as to the moral tendency of the 
piece. Swift commended it for its excellent morality, 
as shewing vice in its strongest and most odious light 
By other divines, it was strenuously censured and 
objected to. The saving qualities in Gay's production 
consisted in the lyrics with which it is profusely inter- 
larded. The music of the Beggar? Opera is unsurpassed 
for touching tenderness. Why the court should have 



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168 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

taken mortal offence at the popularity of Gay's drama, 
is not clearly understood. Perhaps it was thought that 
the profligacy of manners in high quarters was too 
truly figured. Sir Robert Walpole, to whom is imputed 
the saying, that ' every man has his price/ felt that his 
political dealings bore an unpleasantly close resemblance 
to Macheath, when he sings : 

Since laws were made for every degree, 
To curb vice in others as well as in me, 
I wonder we haven't better company 
Upon Tyburn Tree. 

It is one of the greatest manifestations of wisdom, 
never, on frivolous grounds, to complain of ill-usage. 
It is best to allow jests and ill-natured squibs to pass 
into oblivion; taking notice of them only makes matters 
worse. If Sir Robert Walpole imagined that he was 
satirised in the character of Macheath, a (lashing 
highwayman, he should have laughed at the joke, 
and thought no more about it Instead of doing so, 
he broke into a rage at being held up, as he thought, 
to public derision, appealed to the Xord Chamber- 
lain, as guardian of the stage, and caused the per- 
formance of the piece to be stopped. Kitty, Duchess 
of Queensberry, was now in her element. A mean 
advantage had been taken of Gay, a poet and a man 
of good reputation. He was martyred by the court, 
and ought to be sympathised with and supported. She 
accordingly became the patron of the unfortunate drama- 
tist. She went about soliciting subscriptions of a guinea 
each for printing copies of his play. In her eagerness, 
she carried her subscription-paper around the Queen's 
Drawing-Room, and even, with her matchless audacity, 



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KITTY, DUCHESS OF QUEENSBERRY. 169 

asked the king to be a subscriber to a work, the per- 
formance of which his own officer had suppressed ! An 
outrage so flagrant could not be passed over. The 
Duchess was officially forbidden to come to court ; a 
message which gave her no concern. She characteris- 
tically replied, that c the command was very agreeable 
to her, as she had never gone to court for her own 
diversion, but to bestow civility on the king and queen.' 
As a result of this miserable fracas, the Duke of Queens- 
berry resigned his post as High Admiral of Scotland, 
although requested to remain in office. 

Exiled from court, the Queensberry family paid a 
visit to Scotland, and were accompanied by Gay. A 
new scene now opens in the whimsical career of 
Duchess Kitty. We might as well try to follow a 
butterfly as to track her in her devious course. For a 
time, she and the Duke resided in Edinburgh, in that 
huge square mansion at the foot of the Canongate, 
environed by a boundary-wall like a fortification ; and 
for a time they were at the family palace of Drumlanrig 
in Dumfriesshire. The author of the Traditions of 
Edinburgh mentions that there used to be an attic in an 
old house opposite Queensberry House, where, as an 
appropriate abode for a poet, Gay was stowed by his 
patrons, ' It is known, however, that while in Edin- 
burgh, he haunted the shop of Allan Ramsay, in the 
Luckenbooths — the flat above that well-remembered 
and classical shop, so long kept by Creech, from which 
issued the Mirror, Lounger, and other works of name ; 
and where, for a long course of years, the literati of Edin- 
burgh used to assemble every day like merchants at an 
Exchange. Here Ramsay amused Gay, by pointing out 
to him the chief public characters of the city, as they 



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170 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

met in the forenoon at the Cross. Here, too, Gay read 
the Gentle Shepherd, and studied the Scottish language, 
so that on his return to England he was enabled to 
make Pope appreciate the beauties of that delightful 
pastoral.' We can conceive that altogether Gay spent 
a pleasant time in the Scottish capital At Drumlanrig, 
there was less of literary solacement, and he had^to fall 
back on the natural scenery of Nithsdale, simple, wild, 
and beautiful. In a mausoleum at the parish church of 
Durisdeer there was one artistic object, which he was 
doubtless shewn, a representation in statuary, by Rou- 
billiac, of James, Duke of Queensberry, the hero of the 
Union, and his Duchess. The noble pair are repre- 
sented lying in a bed in their state dresses ; but though 
in some respects fantastic, the figures are true to life, 
and are viewed with a sense of relief in the present 
day, when the realisation of baldness is the predomi- 
nant ideal. Roubilliac, now apt to be scouted, was a 
great artist His figure in white marble of Lord Presi- 
dent Forbes, in the Parliament House at Edinburgh, 
transcends anything we have seen in modern sculpture. 
We do not know what Gay thought of the figures 
at Durisdeer, but learn that he was pleased with 
wanderings in Nithsdale, and often derived pleasure for 
poetical meditation in a cave away from busied con- 
course, such as would assail him on a return to fleet 
Street 

While in Scotland, the Duchess continued to dress 
herself as a peasant-girl ; her object Jiere, as elsewhere, 
being to ridicule the stately feminine costumes of the 
period. One evening, some country ladies paid her a 
visit, dressed in their best brocades, as for some state 
occasion. Her Grace proposed a walk, and they were 



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KITTY, DUCHESS OF QUEENSBERRY. 171 

of course tinder the necessity of trooping off, to the 
utter discomfiture of their frills and flounces. After 
dragging the poor ladies about, she at last pretended to 
feel tired, and sat down upon the dirtiest dunghill she, 
could find at the end of a farm-house ; saying to her 
companions : € Pray, ladies, be seated ; ' inviting them 
to plant themselves round about her. They stood so 
much in awe of her, that they durst not refuse ; and of 
course the Duchess had the satisfaction of afterwards 
laughing at the destruction of their silks. 

One of Kitty's freaks was an affected horror of seeingv^ 
people at table eat from the point of their knife — a.)^ 
practice now exploded, but then common, for the forks J 
were of steel, and mostly with two prongs. When she 
saw her guests lift the food to their mouth on their 
knife, she screamed out, and begged them not to cut 
their throats. Gay, who was grateful to the Duchess for 
her kindness, begged Swift to think of her with respect, 
notwithstanding this weakness. 

There was no end to Her Grace's caprices,- which 
sometimes took a turn more cruel than destroying the 
silk dresses of her obsequious neighbours. When she 
went to an evening entertainment, and found a tea- 
equipage paraded which she thought too fine for the 
rank of the owner, she would contrive to overset the 
table and break the china. The forced politeness of 
her hosts on such occasions, and the assurances which 
they made that no harm was done, delighted her exceed- 
ingly. At one time when a ball had been announced 
at Drumlanrig, after the company were all assembled, 
Her Grace took a headache, declared that she could 
bear no noise, and sat down in a chair in the dancing- - 
room, uttering a thousand peevish complaints. Her 



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172 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

son, Lord Drumlanrig, who understood her humour, 
said : * Madam, I know how to cure you ; ' and taking 
hold of her immense elbow-chair, which moved on 
casters, rolled her several times backwards and forwards 
across the saloon, till she began to laugh heartily — after 
which the festivities were allowed to commence. 

On this occasion, Kitty did not remain above a 
month or two in Scotland. Along with the Duke and 
her retinue, she returned to London, where there was a 
much better chance of setting ' the world on fire/ than 
in the quiet society of either Edinburgh or Dumfries- 
shire. With all her eccentricities and resentment, she 
in time found her way back to court 

The Duke and Duchess had only two children, sons, 
Henry, Lord Drumlanrig, and Charles. It is alleged 
that Henry inherited from his mother a certain capri- 
ciousness of character. Whether arising from natural 
infirmity, or from the devices practised upon him, his 
career was sadly unfortunate. It has been alleged 
that Kitty, by her inconsiderate freaks, was the real 
cause of the catastrophe which ensued. Lord Drum- 
lanrig is said to have fixed his affections on a Miss 
Mackay, a lady of respectable but not elevated station, 
and of great beauty and accomplishments. She returned 
with an equal ardour the passion of the young noble- 
man, and a correspondence was carried on between 
them of a very affectionate nature. When Lord Drum- 
lanrig informed his parents of his attachment, and inten- 
tion to marry Miss Mackay, the Duke offered no objec- 
tion ; but Her Grace would not hear of the alliance. 
She had already settled decisively in her own mind that 
he should marry Lady Elizabeth Hope, eldest daughter 
of John, second Earl of Hopetoun. This result she 



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KITTY, DUCHESS OF QUEENSBERRY. 173 

effected by intercepting the correspondence between 
Lord Drumlanrig and Miss Mackay, and even causing 
a letter to be forged representing that Miss Mackay was 
married. So runs the tradition ; but we greatly doubt 
its accuracy. Kitty was frivolous, but not deliberately 
wicked. We shall be glad to learn, if, in the exploration 
of the Queen sberry papers, any document has cast up 
to relieve her memory from the scandalous imputation. 
Be it as it may, the marriage of Lord Drumlanrig with 
Lady Elizabeth Hope took place at Hopetoun House, 
24th July 1754. After passing some weeks in Scotland, 
Lord Drumlanrig proceeded with his bride to England, 
accompanied by his father, mother, and brother. Riding 
before the carriages, Lord Drumlanrig 'was killed by 
the going off of one of his own pistols, near Bawtry, in 
Yorkshire, 19th October 1754.' Such is the account of 
the affair in the Peerage of Sir Robert Douglas. Others, 
ascribing the broken-hearted and deranged state of the 
young nobleman to a discovery of the cruel trick that 
had been played upon him, say that he shot himself 
on the journey. His wife, the poor countess, who is 
allowed to have had no hand in any manoeuvre to effect 
the marriage, never recovered the shock. She died 
childless, 7th April 1756, in her twenty-first year, and 
was buried with her husband at Durisdeer. 

Misfortune had still something in reserve for the 
Duchess Kitty. She was destined to lose her second 
son, Charles, who succeeded to the honorary title of 
Lord Drumlanrig on the death of his brother. Not 
being of a robust constitution, he went to Lisbon for 
the benefit of his health in 1755. ^ t was an unfortunate 
selection. On the 1st of November of that year, the 
disastrous earthquake took place which laid all Lisbon 



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^1 



174 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

in ruins. Drumlanrig escaped with his life. His fatigue 
and exposure on the occasion proved most injurious. 
He was able to return to England, but died in 1756. 
What effect these desolating events had on the light- 
hearted Kitty must be left to conjecture. Until late 
in life, she retained her beauty and vivacity. At the 
funeral of the Princess-Dowager of Wales, in 1772, Her 
Grace, with all the buoyancy of thirty years previously, 
walked as one of the assistants to the chief mourner ; a 
circumstance which occasioned the verses of Horace 
Walpole, Earl of Orford : 

To many a Kitty, Love his car 

Would for a day engage ; 
But Prior's Kitty, ever fair, 

Obtained it for an age. 

Kitty, however, was now near the close of her brilliant 
and eccentric career. She died in 1777; and the Duke, 
her husband, passed away a year afterwards. At his 
demise, the dukedom, with very large estates, devolved 
on William, third Earl of March, who now, as fourth 
Duke of Queensberry, united in his own person the 
proprietorship of the extensive estates of the Douglas 
family. 

In the annals of the peerage, we know of nothing 

tc/ be so lamented and reprobated as the career of 

e fourth Duke of Queensberry. A noble inheritance, 

/an historic name, high station, immense opportunities 

/ "of well-being, were thrown away on a worthless pro- 

v, fligate, who cannot be said to have possessed a single 

redeeming quality. Known as the beau, the courtier, 

the patron of horse-racing, and every variety of folly as 

whim directed, he drew out life as a species of social 



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KITTY, DUCHESS OF QUEENSBERRY. 175 

scandaL In his latter years, the Duke's eccentricities 
were a source ; of amusement — if , not cqnsure — in 
London. When no longer able to make his appearance 
on the turf, he occupied himself, sitting daily, during 
fine weather, on the balcony of his house, watching the I / 
passing crowd, and hence became known as ' Old Q., 
the Star of Piccadilly.' As a confirmed bachelor, and p 
at enmity with the heirs of entail of his estates, he/' 
did all in his power to make the most of his property, 
irrespective of future consequences. On Neidpath he 
inflicted a terrible blow. In 1795, he sold the fine old 
timber which had been the pride of the neighbourhood, 
leaving the banks of the Tweed a shelterless wilderness. — 
A well-known sonnet of Wordsworth refers to this 
shameless spoliation : 

Degenerate Douglas ! oh, the unworthy Lord ! 
Whom mere despite of heart could so far please, 
And love of havoc (for with such disease 
Fame taxes him), that he could send forth word 
To level with the dust a noble horde, 
A brotherhood of venerable trees ; 
Leaving an ancient dome, and towers like these, 
Beggared and outraged ! — Many hearts deplore 
The fete of these old trees ; and oft with pain 
The traveller, at this day, will stop and gaze 
On wrongs, which Nature scarcely seems to heed : 
For sheltered places, bosoms, rocks, and bays, 
And the pure mountains, and the gentle Tweed, 
And the green silent pastures yet remain. 

Towards the concluding period of his life, c Old Q.^****-* 
contrived to maintain a certain youthfulness of aspect, 
by bathing every morning in warm milk, and other 
expedients. Scandal alleges that he slept with raw veal \ 
cutlets on his face, in order to preserve a freshness of /*" 



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176 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

complexion. He certainly drew out life beyond what 
any one could have expected. In 1810, he died, 
unmarried ; and there immediately ensued a dispersion 
of his titles and estates according to the respective 
patents of nobility and deeds of entail. The earldom of 
March, with his Peeblesshire estates, was inherited by 
the Earl of Wemyss, as descendant of Lady Anne 
Douglas, daughter of the first Duke of Queensbeny. 
The title of Duke of Queensbeny, with the barony 
of Drumlanrig, devolved on the Duke of Buccleuch, 
who was thenceforth designed Duke of Buccleuch and 
Queensberry. The title of Marquis of Queensbeny, 
with some estates, fell to the share of Sir Charles 
Douglas of Kellhead. Besides his vast estates, 'Old 
Q.' left a personal fortune, amounting to about a million 
sterling, devised in legacies to various persons. So 
sunk and disappeared the 'Star of Piccadilly/ and 
ended in its independent and unimpaired form the ducal 
family of Queensberry. 



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STORY OF THE DALRYMPLES. 



HPHE Dalrymples are an old family in Ayrshire, 
**■ where they attained local distinction as land- 
proprietors in the fifteenth century. The first of them, 
however, of any public note was James Dalrymple of 
Stair, who was a Covenanting captain in the reign of 
Charles L, and at the termination of his military career, 
was appointed Professor of Logic in the University of 
Glasgow. The rule at the time was, that if any pro- 
fessor who was a bachelor married, he had to vacate 
his chair, but was eligible for re-election. Professor 
Dalrymple submitted to this arrangement He married, 
and was reappointed. The lady whom he chose as his 
wife was Margaret, eldest daughter and heiress of James 
Ross of Balneil in Wigtownshire, who brought him an 
estate of five hundred pounds sterling of yearly rent — 
a pretty large sum in these days — besides the old 
mansion of Carsecreugh near Glenluce. This might be 
called the first step in the family towards high rank. 
Margaret Ross, who was the prototype of Sir Walter 
Scott's Lady Ashton, in the Bride of ' Lammermoor, was 
a politic and high-minded woman, and possessed the 

L 



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178 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

ability, as well as the will, to push her family upwards 
in the social scale. 

Possibly at the suggestion of his ambitious wife, 
but doubtless influenced by his own tastes, Dalrymple 
resigned his professorship, came to Edinburgh, and 
entered at the Scottish Bar. It was a hazardous step. 
The times were out of joint Dalrymple, however, 
had a certain suppleness of character which enabled 
him to weather the storm. At the request of General 
Monk, Cromwell raised him to be a judge in the 
Court of Session, and taking his seat on the bench, he 
assumed the senatorial title of Lord Stair. His creation 
by Charles II. as a Baronet of Nova Scotia was another 
step in advance. He was like to have been worsted 
by being obliged to take the Declaration against 
Presbytery. But this he got the better of by a 
dexterous manoeuvre. He took the Declaration, giving 
at the same time explanations in writing to save his 
conscientious scruples. The explanations were returned 
to him as not admissible; but he submitted to the 
rebuff, and kept his seat as a judge — an incident 
singularly characteristic of the shuffling policy at the 
period. 

The interest attaching to Sir James Dalrymple, JLord 
Stair, is much deepened by the domestic tragedy of 
which the great novelist has made such good use. 
The true history of this romantic affair is fairly stated 
in the well -digested work of Mr Murray Graham, 
and was briefly as follows : Sir James and his wife, 
Dame Margaret Dalrymple, had a large family of 
sons and daughters. Janet, the eldest daughter, had, 
against the will of her parents, pledged her troth to 
a poor nobleman, Lord Rutherford. Her mother 



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STORY OF THE DALRYMPLES. ijg; 

endeavoured to break off the engagement, and to- 
bring about a marriage with David Dunbar, son and 
heir of Sir David Dunbar of Baldoon, and who 
stood in the relationship of nephew to Rutherford. ""* 
'Dame Margaret Dalrymple is said to have worked 
upon her unfortunate child, by insisting on the Levitical 
law, which declares that a maiden shall be free of a 
vow which she has vowed, "if her father disallow it 
in the day that he heareth thereof." She at last pre- 
vailed over the gentler disposition and weaker will of 
Janet Dalrymple, who agreed to marry Dunbar. The 
marriage took place at the Kirk of Glenluce, about 
two miles from her parents' house at Carsecreugh, on 
the 1 2th of August (1669), the bride riding to church f 
behind one of her younger brothers, who long after- I 
wards spoke of the chilly coldness of her hand as i^ | 
touched his own when holding by his waist. The 
bridal party remained nearly a fortnight at Carsecreugh, 
whence the bride was taken on the 24th of August to 
her husband's house of Baldoon, near the town of 
Wigtown. A gallantly attired troop of friends accom- 
panied the married pair, and a dramatic entertainment 
or masque was prepared for them at Baldoon. But, 
alas! the bride's health suddenly declined and gave 
way, and she died at Baldoon, probably of a broken 
heart, on 12th of September following.' The circum- <: 
stances connected with the death differ materially, it 
will be seen, from those pictured by the novelist. The 
tradition of the event, however, impressed the imagina- 
tion of Scott, the result being the tale of The Bride of 
Lammermoor. Dunbar afterwards married a daughter 
of the seventh Earl of Eglintoun, and died in 1682, by 
a fall from his horse. As for his rival, Rutherford, he 



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180 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

obtained a commission in the Household Guards, and 
died in 1685. 

After being ten years a judge, Lord Stair was pro- 
moted to be President of the Court of Session, and 
appointed a member of the Scottish Privy Council. 
His ability was not alone demonstrated on the bench. 
He composed the Institutions of the Law of Scotland, a 
work which, with modern annotations, is much prized 
by the legal profession. The year 1 681, in which this 
great work appeared, was noted for * the Test,' a reli- 
gious formula, that Sir James felt himself unable to sub- 
scribe. Before he could tender his resignation, he was 
omitted from a new list of judges, and thereupon retired 
into private life. Harassed by fears of persecution for 
being too tenderly inclined to the Covenanters, he 
iiietly removed himself to Leyden, where he found 
congenial society in Sir Patrick Hume of Polwarth, the 

/Earl of Loudon, and other distinguished refugees. 

(Meanwhile his eldest son, Sir John Dalrymple (who 
had been knighted in early life), had risen at the Bar, 
and by a strange turn of affairs was, in 1687, appointed 
Lord Advocate, when Sir George Mackenzie was driven 
from office for declining to sanction the extreme views 
of James II. The father and son may now be said to 
have been on different sides ; the son, however, taking 
anything good that cast up, and holding himself ready 
for any political change that circumstances required— 
not a bad prototype of Sir Walter Scott's Lord Turn- 
tippet The circumstances soon came. King James 
fled ; William of Orange landed in England, bringing 
Sir James Dalrymple in his train; and under the Revolu- 
tion Settlement Sir John, his son, declared himself 
favourable to the new order of things. Nor did he 



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1\ 



STORY OF THE DALRYMPLES. 181 

disdain to occupy the onerous position of Secretary of 
State for Scotland, a position rendering him responsible 
adviser to the crown in all Scottish affairs. In 1690, 
his father being raised to the peerage as Viscount Stair, 
Sir John was now usually designated Master of StairT~~ 
On this Sir John Dalrymple, Master, of Stair, and 
Secretary of State for Scotland, we propose to concen- 
trate attention. Macaulay speaks of him as 'able, 
eloquent, and accomplished ; ' he might be all that, but 
inasmuch as he was the prime instigator of an act of 
barbaric cruelty, the Massacre of Glencoe, his name has 
been rendered historically infamous. "X 

At the Revolution, certain Highland clans stood out 
in a hesitating way for King James, and gave some 
uneasiness to government The Earl of Breadalbane 
was employed to bring about a pacification by means of 
bribes in money and otherwise ; the negotiation being 
enforced by a royal proclamation in August 1691, 
intimating a free pardon to all who . had been in arms 
against King William, provided they should come in 
any time before the 1st of January next, and swear and 
sign the oath of allegiance. Those who did not accept 
these terms were to be treated as enemies and traitors 
— that is to say, they and all belonging to them would 
be subject to extirpation by military violence. In the 
present day, we can hardly understand such a threat, 
because all offenders against the law are liable to a fair 
trial, and put on their defence. At that period, how- 
ever, in Scotland, the letting loose of military on a 
neighbourhood, in virtue of ' letters of Are and sword/ 
was still in certain circumstances resorted to, as a short 
method of doing wholesale execution. Dalrymple fiend- 
* ishly wished for an opportunity of cutting off a few clans 



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n82 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

by this brief means of slaughter, as an example and 
warning to all who entertained hostile feelings to the 
new government His letters from the court at London 
during the remainder of the year, shew that he grudged 
the merciful terms offered to the Highland Jacobites, 
and would have been happy to find that a refusal of 
them justified harsher measures. He really hoped that 
the Macdonalds of Glencoe, a small clan under a 
chieftain bearing the subordinate surname of M'lan, 
would hold out beyond the proper day. He thought it 
better that the time of grace expired in the depth of 
winter, for, as he said in a letter to Colonel Hamilton, 
1 that is the proper season to maul them, in the cold 
long nights.' As the chiefs of several clans took the 
oath of allegiance before the sheriffs of their respective 
counties within the required time, it seemed probable 
that the only recusant to be dealt with would be the 
unfortunate Mian. In a dilatory manner the aged 
chief hung back till it was too late to take the oath 
according to the prescribed terms. But his failure 
amounted only to a technical mistake. In reality he 
had sped to Inverlochy or Fort-William before the end 
of the year, and tendered his oath to the governor there, 
when, to his dismay, he found he had come to the 
wrong officer. It was necessary he should go to Inver- 
aray, many miles distant, and there give in his submis- 
sion to the sheriff of Argyleshire. In great anxiety, the 
old man toiled his way through the wintry wild to Inver- 
aray. He had to pass within a mile of his own house, 
yet stopped not to enter it After all his exertions, the 
sheriff being absent for two days after his arrival, it was 
not till the 6th of January that his oath was taken and 
registered. The register duly went thereafter to the 



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STORY OF THE DALRYMPLES. 183 

Privy Council at Edinburgh, but the name of Macdonald 
of Glencoe was not found in it It was afterwards 
discovered to have been by special means obliterated, 
though still traceable. 

Sir John Dalrymple was delighted to find that poor 
M'lan was in his power. In a letter, dated nth 
January, addressed to Sir Thomas Livingstone, com- 
mander-in-chief of the forces in Scotland, he says : 'Just 
now, my Lord Argyle tells me that Glencoe hath not 
taken the oaths ; at which I rejoice — it 's a great work 

of charity to be exact in rooting out that sect, the 

worst in all the Highlands ; it is very good news here.' 
Elsewhere he says he obtained that very day a letter 
from the king concerning the Highland rebels, com- 
manding the troops to cut them off, ' by all manner of 
hostility,' and for this end to proclaim high penalties to 
all who should give them assistance or protection. 
Particular instructions, subscribed by the king, followed 
on the 1 6th, permitting terms to be offered to Glengarry, 
whose house was strong enough to give trouble, but 
adding : ' If M'lan of Glencoe and that tribe can well 
be separated from the rest, it will be a proper vindica- 
tion of the public justice to extirpate that sect of thieves.' 
On the same day, Dalrymple himself wrote to Colonel 
Hill, governor of Inverlochy : 1 1 shall entreat you that, 
for a just vengeance and public example, the thieving 
tribe of Glencoe be rooted out to purpose. The Earls 
of Argyle and Breadalbane have promised they shall 
have no retreat in their bounds.' He felt, however, 
that it must be 'quietly done;' otherwise they would 
make shift both for their cattle and themselves. There 
can be no doubt what he meant If the clan were 
attacked in open warfare, they might disperse with their 



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184 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

cattle, and less or more escape ; whereas, if approached 
quietly and deceitfully, they would be ' rooted out and 
cut off*.' 

Here then the tribe were to be summarily slaughtered, 
much in the way in which the inhabitants of back- 
settlements in America used to be stealthily approached 
and ferociously killed by bands of Indians. Everything 
being thus secretly prepared, the commander, Living- 
stone, wrote to Colonel Hamilton of Inverlochy garrison 
to proceed with his work against the Glencoe men. ' A 
detachment of the Earl of Argyle's regiment — Campbells, 
hereditary enemies of the Macdonalds of Glencoe— 
under the command of Campbell of Glenlyon, proceeded 
to the valley, affecting nothing but friendly intentions, 
and were hospitably received. Glenlyon himself, as 
uncle to the wife of one of the chiefs sons, was hailed 
as a friend. Each morning he called at the humble 
dwelling of the chief, and took his morning-draught of 
usquebaugh. On the evening of the 12th of February, 
he played at cards with the chiefs family. The final 
orders for the onslaught, written on the 12th at Balla- 
chulish by Major Robert Duncanson (a relation of the 
Campbells), were now in Glenlyon's hands. They bore : 
" You are to put all to the sword under seventy. You 
are to have a special care that the old fox and his son 
do on no account escape your hands. You 're to secure 
all avenues, that none escape ; this you are to put in 
execution at five o'clock precisely, and by that time, or 
very shortly after it, I'll strive to be at you with a 
stronger party. If I do not come to you at five, you are 
not to tarry for me, but to fall on." 

1 Glenlyon : was but too faithful to his instructions. 
His soldier? had their orders the night before. John 



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STORY OF THE DALRYMPLES. 185 

Macdonald, the chiefs eldest son, observing an unusual 
bustle among the soldiers, took an alarm, and inquired 
what was meant Glenlyon soothed his fears with a 
story about a movement against Glengarry, and the lad 
went to bed. Meanwhile, efforts were making to plant 
guards at all the outlets' of that alpine glen ; but the 
deep snow on the ground prevented the duty from being 
fully, accomplished. . At five Lieutenant Lindsay came 
with his men to the house of the chief, who, hearing of 
his arrival, got out of bed to receive him. He was shot 
dead as he was dressing himself. Two of his people in 
the house shared his fate, and his wife, shamefully treated 
by the soldiers, died next day. At another hamlet 
called Auchnaion, the tacksman and his family received 
a volley of shot as they were sitting by their fireside, 
and all but one were laid dead or dying on the floor. 
The survivor entreated to be killed in the open air, and 
there succeeded in making his escape. There were 
similar scenes at all the other inhabited places in the 
glen; and before daylight, thirty-eight persons had been 
murdered. The rest of the people, including the chiefs 
eldest son, fled to the mountains, where many of them 
are believed to have perished. When Colonel Hamilton 
came at breakfast-time, he found one old man alive, 
mourning over the bodies of the dead ; and this person, 
though he might have been even formally exempted as 
above seventy, was slain on the spot. The only remain- 
ing duty of the soldiers was to burn the houses and 
harry the country. This was relentlessly done, two 
hundred horses, nine hundred cattle, and many sheep 
and goats being driven away. 

c A letter of Dalrymple, dated from London the 5th 
March, makes us aware that the Massacre of Glencoe 



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186 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

was already making a sensation there. It was said that 
the people had been murdered in their beds, after the 
chief had made the required submission. The secretary 
professed to have known nothing of the last fact, but he 
was far from regretting the bloodshed. " All I regret is 
that any of the sect got away." When the particulars 
became fully known — when it was ascertained that the 
Campbells had gone into the glen as friends, and fallen 
upon the people when they were in a defenceless state, 
and when all suspicion was lulled asleep — the trans- 
action assumed the character which it has ever since 
borne in the public estimation, as one of the foulest in 
modern history.' 

Such, in brief, are the particulars of this shameful 
affair, for which the Master of Stair must chiefly be held 
responsible. The massacre, no doubt,- proceeded in 
virtue of the king's instructions, but the Secretary Stair 
was the king's adviser, and, as we have seen, he enter- 
tained a rancorous hatred of the Glencoe men. Nothing 
can shelter him from infamy; yet the annalist of the 
family attempts to gloss over his conduct by inferring 
that he c was unconscious of the unjustifiable severity and 
atrocity of the act* Unconscious of the cruelty of 
ordering a multitude of human beings to be deceitfully 
thrown off their guard and butchered like wild beasts ! 
The fact is, Sir John Dalrymple became ashamed, and 
somewhat alarmed for what he had done. In our own 
times an act like that of the Massacre of Glencoe would 
be known all over the world in four-and-twenty hours. 
On its occurrence, so slowly did news travel, that the 
affair was only beginning to be talked of in Edinburgh 
and London some months afterwards, and did not 
become matter of public clamour until 1695. A royal 



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. STORY OF THE DALRYMPLES. 187 

commission was that year appointed to inquire into the 
facts of the case, the result being that Secretary Stan- 
was blamed for having exceeded his instructions. He 
resigned office, and the king granted remission for his 
excess of zeal. As a further act of royal condescension, 
when Dalrymple became second viscount by the decease 
of his father in 1695, he was created Earl of Stair — a 
curious instance of a great wrong being rewarded by an 
accession of honours. 

The first Earl of Stair did not long enjoy his new 
honours. Aware of the odium he had incurred by 
the Glencoe massacre, and worn down by political 
manoeuvring and debates in favour of the Union, he 
died suddenly on the 8th January 1707. So here was 
an end of one of the cleverest, and, we may say, the 
cunningest and least scrupulous men of his day. There 
was a moral in his fate. His greatness as a statesman 
was tarnished by an act of profound villainy, which no 
apology can extenuate. Of what worth are the highest 
earthly honours when associated with the reputation of 
despicable baseness ? 

Sir John Dalrymple made what is called a good 
marriage. Early in life, he was married to Elizabeth, 
daughter and heiress of Sir John Dundas of Newliston, 
and had several sons, the eldest of whom, when a boy, 
was accidentally killed by his next youngest brother, 
then a child of eight years of age. Two loaded pistols 
happened to be lying in the entrance4iall at Carsecreugh. 
The boy took up one of the pistols, and unwittingly 
shot his brother dead. This youthful homicide lived 
to be his father's successor, as second Earl of Stair. 
Attaching himself to military pursuits, he became a 
distinguished officer in the army under Marlborough. 



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188 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

He rose to the rank of field-marshal, and afterwards 
figured as ambassador-extraordinary to the court of 
Louis XIV. Latterly, he retired to his estate of New- 
liston, where he is reputed to have been the first in 
Scotland to plant cabbages and turnips in the open 
fields— a circumstance more honourable to his memory 
than all his other public services. He was likewise a 
great planter of trees and land-improver at his estate 
of Newliston, and at Castle Kennedy. There is a 
current tradition that the woods at Newliston were laid 
out by him in divisions, to resemble the relative posi- 
tions of the English and French armies at the battle 
of Dettingen. Mr Murray Graham gives another, but 
not very dissimilar account of this arboricultural effort 
'The grounds/ he says, 'immediately about the house 
of Newliston were laid out by Lord Stair in straight 
lines, with sunk fences and bastions, in the form of an 
encampment or fortified position; while the more dis- 
tant grounds and woods were planted out also in 
straight lines, in the French taste of the time, with 
intersecting and corresponding avenues.' Newliston 
was latterly disposed of to another proprietor. His 
lordship's taste in ornamentation by trees and other- 
wise, was carried to still greater length at Castle 
Kennedy, near the shore of Loch Ryan. 

Mr Graham, in his work already referred to, pre- 
sents numerous particulars concerning the military 
and diplomatic career of the second Earl of Stair; 
but for these we must refer to the book itself, which 
is a painstaking memorial of the early and more con- 
spicuous members of the Dalrymple family. In his 
latter days, during his retirement from official duties, 
besides amusing himself as a land-improver, the second 



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STORY OF THE DALRYMPLES. 189 

Eaxl spent much of his time in Edinburgh. Here he 
fell in love with a lady of local note, widow of the 
profligate James, Viscount Primrose, whose decease in 
1706 was a relief to her ladyship. She was still a 
beautiful woman, and might have procured a choice of 
husbands among the 'elite of the period. She, however, 
from her unfortunate experiences, made a resolution 
never again to be a wife. By an exceedingly unworthy 
trick, related in the Traditions of Edinburgh^ Lady 
Primrose was induced to alter her resolution, and 
become Countess of Stair — her residence at the time 
imparting the name of Lady Stair's Close to one of the 
dingy alleys of the Old Town. Her ladyship was more 
happy with her second husband than with her first. 
Her only source of vexation was Lord Stair's proneness 
to excessive drinking. In one of his drunken fits he 
so far exceeded the bounds of reason and gentlemanly 
conduct as to give her so severe a blow upon the upper 
part of the face as to occasion the effusion of blood. 
He immediately afterwards fell asleep, unconscious of 
what he had done. Overwhelmed by a tumult of bitter 
feeling, Lady Stair made no attempt to bind up her 
wound; but remained near her torpid husband, and 
wept and bled till morning. When his lordship awoke, 
and learned that the cause of his wife's dishevelled and 
bloody figure was his own conduct, he was so stung by 
remorse as never afterwards to take any species of drink 
except what was sanctioned by her ladyship. In this 
incident we see the type of those scenes of brutal 
violence which now prevail alone among the most 
ignorant of the community. Lord Stair died in 1747, 
and his venerable lady, after being long at the head of 
Edinburgh society, died in November 1759. Since the 



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190 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

decease of the second Earl, the title and estates have 
passed from one branch of the Dalrymple family to 
another, but concerning whom there is little general 
interest 

For a long time there was a superstitious belief in 
Scotland that the wickedness of the Glencoe massacre 
was visited by retribution on the descendants of its 
principal actors. As regards the v Dalrymples, they in 
time ceased to be reproached with the unhappy family 
stain, though until this day it can hardly fail to be to 
them a matter of regret. The Campbells of Glenlyon 
appear to have felt more acutely that the sins of the 
fathers are visited on the children. In their case the 
Nemesis which follows wrongdoing of all sorts has 
been the subject of painful remark. 

Colonel Stewart, in his account of the Highland Regi- 
ments, mentions that Colonel Campbell of Glenlyon, 
who was grandson of the Glenlyon who commanded the 
military at the Massacre of Glencoe, felt as if under a 
blight from the conduct of his ancestor. Stewart relates 
the following anecdote of him. In 177 1 he was, as an 
officer in a regiment, commanded to superintend the 
execution of the sentence of a court-martial on a soldier 
condemned to be shot A reprieve was sent, but the 
ceremony of the execution was to proceed until the 
criminal was on his knees with a cap over his head. 
No person was to be told previously, not even the 
firing-party, who were warned that the signal to fire 
would be the drawing of a white handkerchief out of 
the officer's pocket. Campbell put his hand into his 
pocket to draw out the reprieve, but at the same time 
accidentally drew out the handkerchief. The party fired, 
and the soldier was shot dead. The paper dropped 



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STORY OF THE DALRYMPLES. V)X 

through Campbell's fingers, and, placing his hand to his 
forehead, he exclaimed : * The curse of God and Glencoe 
is here ; I am an unfortunate, ruined man.' He soon 
after retired from the service, and the impression on his 
mind was never effaced. There are other legends regard- 
ing the supposed hereditary blight still resting on the 
Glenlyon family. 



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THE CECILS. 



HPHE Cecils, of whom the Marquis of Salisbury and 
■*■ the Marquis of Exeter are the notable represen- 
tatives in the direct line, are sprung from a family 
which acquired lands by gifts from the crown previous 
to the reign of Henry VII. They come into notice as 
persons of property in Lincoln, Rutland, and North- 
amptonshires, though not possessed of such wealth as 
would indispose them from personal exertion. The 
first of the name who rose to distinction, and who 
might be called the maker of the family, was William 
Cecil, who was born at Bourne in Lincolnshire, Sep- 
tember 15, 1520. Educated at the grammar-schools 
of Grantham and Stamford, he thence passed to St 
John's College, Cambridge, where he signalised himself 
alike for diligence and aptitude in learning. 

At twenty-one years of age, Cecil went to London, 
and entered himself at Gray's Inn, as a student of law. 
It is by no means certain that he designed to follow 
the legal profession, for at this time it was no unusual 
thing for a young man of family and talents to enter 
one of the Inns of Court, in order to gain such a 
knowledge of the law and the constitution of the 



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THE CECILS. 193 

country as would qualify him for becoming a member 
of the legislature, should such be his fate. Cecil, there- 
fore, as we may say, studied the rudiments of states- 
manship, in a way likely to advance his interests. 
He had barely entered himself at Gray's Inn, when 
having already fallen in love with Maria Cheke, a 
young lady of good family, he married her, and felt 
himself only the more inspired to pursue the course 
in which he set out. It was a bold step, but it re- 
ceived the approval of his father, who was not disin- 
clined to aid him in settling in life. As a young 
married man, Cecil had the best excuse for avoiding 
expensive habits and for resolutely winning a good 
name. The marriage took place in 154 1, at a time 
when England was passing through the crisis of the 
Reformation, or more correctly when Henry VIII. was 
at the height of his power, and defying remonstrance, 
assumed the supremacy of the Church. If, however, 
the times were critical, the better was the opportunity 
for a youth possessing talent and enterprise. 

The opportunity occurred in an unexpected manner 
for young Cecil. Having gone to court to see his 
father, who filled the office of Yeoman of the Robes, 
he happened to meet two priests who had come as 
attendants on Eustace O'Neale, an Irish chieftain. 
The Great O'Neale, as he was ordinarily called, was 
far from being in a good-humour in having to appear 
at the English court, for Henry had just assumed the 
dignity of King of Ireland, much to the dissatisfaction 
of the native chiefs. The usual means of pacification 
was resorted to with good effect; Eustace O'Neale 
being created Earl of Tyrone, all grudges were at an 
end. The two ecclesiastics his attendants thought they 

M 



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J91 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

had an excellent opportunity of shewing off their 
learning amidst the crowd of courtiers, and by bad 
lock they fastened on William Cecil for an antagonist 
in a dispute in Latin, The question was the Pope's 
supremacy, on which Cecil had bestowed great and 
early attention. The two priests were not very hjgh 
in scholarship; their Latin was not first-rate. Cecil 
soon overpowered them in argument, and came off 
victorious. The circumstance being reported to the 
king, Henry was quite delighted, for the views of the 
young disputant corresponded with his own; and 
pleased with the talents of young Cecil, he gave him 
an appointment, the reversion of the Custos Brevium, 
an office of value in the Common Pleas. So there, at 
once, he was placed in a good position connected with 
the x;ourt. Obviously his good-fortune was due to 
chance ; but had he not possessed the proper amount 
of ability, the chance would have been valueless. 

Cecil unexpectedly suffered a domestic bereavement 
His wife died about a year and a half after her marriage, 
leaving an infant son, Thomas. In 1545, he married 
a second wife, Mildred, one of the learned daughters 
of Sir Anthony Cooke, tutor to Prince Edward. All 
his daughters were taught by him Latin and Greek, as 
was then the custom among ladies of high rank; the 
king's daughters, Mary and Elizabeth, as is well known, 
being noted for their scholarship. By this alliance, 
Cecil procured the friendship of the Duke of Somerset, 
who on the decease of Henry VIIL in 1547, became 
Protector of the kingdom during the early years of 
Edward's minority. Somerset having a high apprecia- 
tion of Cecil's abilities, appointed him Master of 
Requests, and afterwards raised him to the office of 



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THE CECILS. I9X 

Secretary of State. Whto Somerset went with an 
army to Scotland, to try tp achieve by force of arms a 
marriage between young Mary Queen of Scots and 
Prince Edward — such having been one of the projects 
of Henry VIII. — Cecil accompanied him. It was a 
mad expedition, which led to the battle of Pinkie, and 
in that fierce encounter Cecil was placed in personal 
jeopardy. 

Somerset, as is known, was precipitated from power 
through the machinations of Dudley, Duke of Northum- 
berland. Cecil shared in the disgrace of the Pro- 
tector, and was imprisoned for three months; but in 
less than two years after his release, his pre-eminent 
abilities secured for him a re-appointment to the state- 
secretaryship by the Duke of Northumberland, his 
former patron's sworn enemy. During his second 
secretaryship, Cecil demonstrated the power of his 
genius by effecting most important and beneficial 
changes in the commercial policy of the country. With 
a sagacity far beyond the spirit of his age, he endeav- 
oured to throw trade open, and did succeed in abolish- 
ing some monopolies; but others proved too strong 
for him, standing as he did alone, at a time when 
exclusive privileges were considered the only sureties 
of a national trade. 

When, by the death of Edward VI., Mary, as eldest 
daughter of Henry VIII., ascended the throne, Cecil, 
being a Protestant, resigned office, and retired into 
private life; though from his moderate views he re- 
tained an intimacy with the party in power during 
Mary's infamous reign. For his liberality of sentiment, 
he was accused of being a ' trimmer,' which is far from 
the truth. His predominant feeling was a sense of 



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196 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES, 

justice. When a bill was introduced into parliament 
for a wholesale confiscation of the estates of Protestants, 
it was rejected mainly through his vehement opposition. 
Cecil foresaw that in the event of Mary's death, she 
would be succeeded by her sister Elizabeth, who was 
intensely Protestant in her opinions, and this circum- 
stance, no doubt, fortified his conscientious convictions. 
At this point in our narrative, something needs to 
be said of the two daughters of Henry VIIL, each 
in turn destined to be a queen in her own right 
Henry's family were brought up in the country, at 
mansions which he or his predecessors had acquired. 
One of these favourite residences was Hatfield in Hert- 
fordshire, an easy distance from London. The place 
was called Heathfield in Anglo-Saxon times, and 
belonged to the Abbey of Ely. On the conversion of 
the abbey into a bishopric, it was attached to the 
new see ; whence as the palace of the bishops it was 
distinguished by the name of Bishop's Hatfield. From 
one of these bishops it passed to Henry VIIL, some 
of whose family used it as a place of residence. The 
Princess Elizabeth, born at the palace of Greenwich, 
15th September 1533, was, by an order of the king, 
her father, removed when about three months old 
to Hatfield, there to remain with, the establishment 
provided for her. A more beautiful situation or one 
more salubrious could not have been selected. The 
house was environed by an extensive park, planted with 
rows of trees, and intersected with broad, avenues in 
different directions. Besides spending some of her 
infancy at Hatfield, Elizabeth again resided in the place 
during the last illness of her father, when she enjoyed 
the society of her brother Prince Edward, 'whose 



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THE CECILS. 197 

especial darling she was.' At this time, Edward was 
about ten, and the princess fourteen years old. The 
gleeful and loving rambles of the two royal children 
in the environs of the old palace can easily be pictured. 
A few years later, when Elizabeth was. at Hatfield, 
she was instructed in the learned languages by Roger 
Ascham, one of the most scholarly men of the day. 
A broad green avenue behind the palace is said to 
have formed a favourite walk of master and pupil while 
holding conversations in latin. 

The next time we hear of Elizabeth being at Hatfield 
was towards the conclusion of Edward's reign, where 
she kept state, and presided over a well-appointed 
household. The circumstances connected with her 
next residence at the old palace were of a less pleasant 
nature. Her brother Edward was dead, and her sister 
Mary, who viewed her with jealousy, was on the throne. 
Under a suspicion of her being connected with Wyatt's 
insurrection, Elizabeth had been imprisoned in the 
Tower; and at her release she was permitted to 
establish herself permanently at the palace of Hatfield, 

T555- 

Here, under the charge of Sir Thomas Pope, a 
worthy and courtly person, Elizabeth enjoyed a certain 
degree of liberty. She was indulged with walking and 
riding' about the extensive and beautifully wooded park, 
and in the old palace, antique pageantries and festivities 
were munificently provided for her recreation. Accord- 
ing to Nichols's Progresses, 'In Shrovetide, 1556, Sir 
Thomas Pope made for the lady Elizabeth, all at his 
own costs, a great and rich masking in the great hall 
at Hatfield ; where the maskings . were marvellously 
furnished. There were there twelve minstrels anticly 



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T9& STORIES. OF OLD FAMILIES. 

disguised ; with forty-six or more gentlemen and ladies, 
many of them knights or nobles, and ladies of honour 
apparelled in crimson satin, and embroidered upon 
with wreaths of gold, and garnished with borders of 
hanging pearl. And the device of a castle of cloth o£ 
gold set with pomegranates about the battlements, with 
shields of knights, in rich harness tourneyed* At night 
the cupboard in the hall was of twelve stages, mainly 
furnished with garnish of gold and silver vessels; and 
a banquet of dainty dishes » • • all at the charges of 
Sir Thomas Pope* And the next day the play of 
Holophernes? 

By a change of feeling towards Elizabeth, Mary 
visited her at Hatfield in 1557, when both were 
* witness of a grand exhibition of bear-bating/ In the 
evening there was a play, after which, at a concert, 
Elizabeth played an accompaniment 'on the virginals/ 
So sped her residence at Hatfield, until intelligence 
arrived of the death of Mary, and she was called to 
the throne, 16th November 1558. 

An aged oak, considerably decayed, is pointed out 
as that under which Elizabeth was sitting when the 
intelligence reached her that she was queen. What- 
ever truth may be attached to the tradition, the tree, 
which is one in the cross avenues of the park, is 
preserved with much care, by being surrounded with 
a railing. An account of the queen's reception of the 
intelligence is historically given as follows: 'Eliza- 
beth received the news of her accession at Hatfield 
Falling on her knees, she uttered in Latin, this verse 
of the Psalms : * It is the Lord's doing,, it is marvellous 
in our eyes/ which to this day we find on the stamp 
of her gold; with a Latin inscription on her silver: 



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THE CECILS. 199 

'I have chosen God for my helper.' Several noble- 
men of the late queen's council now repairing to 
her, she held at Hatfield, on November 20th, her first 
privy-council; at which she nominated Sir Thomas 
Parry, comptroller of her household; Sir Edward 
Rogers, captain of the guard ; and Sir William Cecil, 
principal secretary of state. . » , On November 23d, 
the queen set forward for her capital, attended by a 
train of about a thousand nobles, knights, gentlemen, 
and ladies/ 

As everybody is aware, Elizabeth was particularly 
fortunate in having a minister and adviser of such 
extraordinary prudence and sagacity as Sir William, 
Cecil, who had received the honour of knighthood on 
being appointed Secretary of State in the reign of 
Edward VI. By Elizabeth, as has been seen, he was 
nominated to the same office. In 15 71, he was elevated 
by her to the peerage by the title of Baron Burleigh, 
and in 1572, appointed Lord High Treasurer. 

While residing at Hatfield, and looking forward to 
the possibility of some day ascending the throne, 
Elizabeth had been in confidential correspondence 
with Sir William Cecil, and now the intimacy was 
completed. For forty years, Cecil was not only 
Elizabeth's prime-minister, but her adviser on a variety 
of subjects, and to him may be imputed the great and 
salutary movements of her reign. Cecil's policy at 
home and abroad was at once shrewd and cautious, 
and liberal and comprehensive, while he displayed a 
power of decision, ready and stern, when necessity 
demanded. As a statesman, Cecil was above ani- 
mosities and favouritism; his enemies never suffered, 
arid his friends profited nothing, by his power. Capacity* 



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200: STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

truth, and honour were what he sought in public men. 
Had he been less just, history might have been more 
generous to his memory. In acknowledgment of his 
great services, the queen, as above stated, created him 
Baron Burleigh in 157 1. This great man, the faithful 
servant of Queen Elizabeth, died August 15, 1598. 
The queen survived him, only five years. 

Sir William Cecil left two sons. Thomas, his son 
by his first wife, inherited his title of Lord Burleigh; 
in Robert, son by his second wife, were conspicuously 
perpetuated those high statesman-like qualities which 
recommended him to the favour of Elizabeth. Receiv- 
ing from her the honour of knighthood, he was made 
Secretary of State. The accession of the Stuart dynasty 
in 1603, raised the Cecils to new and, higher dignities. 
In May 1603, Sir Robert Cecil was raised to the peer- 
age as Baron Cecil of Essendon; and in Augftst 1604, 
he was advanced to the Viscounty of Cranbourne. 
On the 4th May 1605, he was created Earl of Salisbury; 
at the same time his elder brother Thomas, Lord 
Burleigh, was created Earl of Exeter. . The circumstance 
of two brothers being made earls in the same day is 
something remarkable in the English peerage. 

King James, on his arrival in England, had taken a 
fancy for Theobald's (Cheshunt), the country seat of Sir 
Robert Cecil, and exchanged it with him for Hatfield, 
which is henceforth identified with the Salisbury branch 
of the family. On becoming proprietor, Sir Robert 
Cecil, first Earl of Salisbury, effected great changes 
on Hatfield. The old house was removed, and a new 
one erected in its stead, between the years 1605 and 
161 1. The mansion so erected, which is of vast size, 
and built of brick with white stone facings, is of 



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THE CECILS. 201 

the Elizabethan style of architecture. Its outlook on a 
park seven miles in circumference, sectioned by broad 
avenues of oaks and beeches, and stocked with red and 
fallow deer, is by far the finest thing of the kind in 
Hertfordshire, and can scarcely be matched elsewhere, 
except perhaps at Woburn in next county. In the 
renovations on the establishment, the ancient banquet- 
ing-hall was spared. It stands a little apart, north from 
the house, near to the entrance from the town of 
Hatfield. This interesting old hall is now used as a 
stable, for which it is commodiously fitted up to 
accommodate a large number of horses. The lofty 
groined oak roof is the delight of architects. 

Sir Robert Cecil, first Earl of Salisbury, was, like his 
father, created Lord High Treasurer, but the honours 
heaped on him did not confer happiness. Worn out 
with business, he in his last illness was heard to say to 
Sir Walter Cope : ' Ease and pleasure quake to hear of 
death ; but my life, full of cares and miseries, desireth 
to be dissolved.' He died in 1612, being a year after 
his completion of Hatfield. He was succeeded by his 
son William, as second Earl, since whose time the 
family has occupied a front rank in the peerage. 
James, seventh Earl, was created Marquis of Salisbury 
in 1789. 

We may now turn for a little to the Exeter branch of 
the Cecils. Its history is rather uneventful, though the 
monotony is relieved by a somewhat romantic incident, 
which has been versified by Tennyson. We can give 
only a few facts ; the names and dates being verified 
by Burke's ' Peerage.' 

The eighth Earl of Exeter, who acceded to the title 
in 1722, had a son, Brownlow Cecil, his successor, 



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202 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

and a second son, Thomas-Chambers Cecil, who at 
his decease left a son, Henry. Brownlow succeeded to 
the earldom in 1754; he was married, but had no 
issue. Henry Cecil, his nephew, was therefore heir- 
presumptive. With good abilities and artistic tastes, 
Henry Cecil appears to have been a little eccentric 
He married a lady of a good family, but the marriage, 
of which there were no children, proved unhappy, and 
was dissolved by divorce in 1791. Free to many 
again, and nearly forty years of age, he roamed about 
the country on foot, and professing to be an artist 
taking views of the scenery, he called himself Mr Jones. 
In his wanderings he got into Shropshire. Here, at 
the prettily situated village of Bolas Magna, he arrived 
late in the evening, and looked about for some cottage 
in which he might find shelter for the night He was 
so fortunate as to procure accommodation at the house 
of Thomas Hoggins, a decent farmer, who lived with 
his wife and his daughter Sarah, a young and comely 
girl. 

As a result of staying a few days under the roof of 
Mr Hoggins, young Cecil fell in love with Sarah, and 
was accepted as a suitor. It was a hazardous thing for 
the farmer to run the risk of giving his daughter to a 
total stranger, but he ran the risk. The marriage took 
place on the 3d October 1791. Tradition does not 
mention whether Cecil still kept to his assumed name; 
but we imagine that his real name must have been 
given on his marriage. There was not any suspicion 
of his relationship to the Exeter family. That was a 
secret kept even from his wife. Mrs Cecil believed 
him to be a painter, with some small patrimony, and 
looked forward to spending her life with him in the 



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THE CECILS. 203 

village. Meanwhile, Cecil fondly endeavoured to culti- 
vate her mind by reading and general information, so 
as to render her an agreeable companion, and prepare 
for any eventuality. It is pleasing to know that with 
considerable tact she acquired the tastes and language 
of a lady. In due time they had a daughter born to 
them, who lived only a few days. 

A circumstance now occurred which naturally affected 
the future state of affairs. In December 1793, Cecil 
learned from a country newspaper that the aged Earl, 
his uncle, was dead, and he saw that his presence 
would be required at Burleigh House, near Stamford, 
Northamptonshire. Yet, he did not tell Sarah, his wife, 
what a change had taken place in his own and her 
position. He wished the fact to come out somewhat 
in the nature of a dramatic surprise. Merely saying 
that business called him to Northamptonshire, and that 
his wife should accompany him, he bade good-bye to 
the Hoggins family, and set out on the journey — a 
pretty long one across England. The pair travelled 
on horseback, Sarah sitting on a pillion behind, and 
holding by her husband in the old-fashioned style. 
The flutter of surprise which she experienced on 
arriving at Burleigh House, and being 4 introduced 
as the Countess of Exeter, may be left to conjecture. 

The conduct of Sarah, Countess of Exeter, rally 
justified the choice of the EarL Unfortunately, her 
married life was brief.. After her arrival at Burleigh, 
she had three children^ a daughter, Sophia, and two 
sons, Brownlow, and Thomas. In 1797, she died in 
giving birth to the younger son, Thomas. Had she lived 
four years longer, she would have been a Marchioness ; 
for the Earl of Exeter was created a Marquis in 1801. 



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204 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

His lordship married in 1800, Elizabeth, Dowager 
Duchess of Hamilton, by whom he had no children. 
At his decease in 1804, he was succeeded by his eldest 
son, Brownlow, as second Marquis, from whom the 
Exeter branch of the Cecils is descended. 

The Salisbury branch of the Cecils, directly in descent 
from Sir William Cecil, the minister of Queen Eliza- 
beth, and his second wife, Mildred, one of the learned 
daughters of Sir Anthony Cooke, has latterly occupied 
a prominent position. The second Marquis, who died 
in 1868, was twice married, and had altogether 
ten children. His successor was Robert- Arthur-Talbot, 
eldest surviving son by the first marriage, who is 
the present peer, and is possessed of great versatility of 
talent While we write he occupies the position of Secre- 
tary of State for Foreign Affairs, and has been created a 
Knight of the Garter. In the whole family there is 
demonstrated an energy of character which sustains 
the reputation of their great ancestor, Sir William CeciL 

With reverence for a family of such lasting distinc- 
tion, we had no little pleasure in visiting Hatfield, 
and admiring a place so identified with the history 
of Queen Elizabeth. Among the objects of art 
which attract attention are seen family and historical 
pictures by Mabuse, Sir Peter Lely, Sir Godfrey 
Kneller, Sir Joshua Reynolds, and others. The por- 
traits of the two Lord High Treasurers in their 
ruffs and robes of office, convey the idea of thought- 
fulness and acute intelligence. Among the other 
pictures, we noticed one of Queen Elizabeth, also 
a picture of her rival, ;the unfortunate Mary Queen 
of Scots, depicted in a black mantle, bordered with 
white lace, and at her girdle a cross and rosary. There 



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THE CECILS. 205 

is a likeness of Richard III., and one of Robert Dudley, 
Earl of Leicester, a somewhat robust figure. Two 
pictures are particularly pleasing. One is that of Miss 
Price, a little girl, painted by Reynolds. It is truly 
exquisite. The other picture is that of the late 
Marchioness of Salisbury, grandmother of the present 
Marquis, by Gainsborough. This lady had a sad fate. 
At an advanced age, she was accidentally burned to 
death in her apartment at Hatfield, in 1835. Over 
the mantel-piece in the large drawing-room there is 
a statue in bronze, life-size, of James I. The feeling 
communicated by a visit to Hatfield is, that we are 
living somewhere about the year 1600, and are sur- 
rounded by a species of historical panorama. In the 
grand old library, with its stores of learning, days could 
be spent in exploration. We say nothing of the balls 
and receptions in winter given by the Marchioness 
of Salisbury, when sometimes more than a thousand 
guests are invited, and which are of peculiar magnifi- 
cence. From the fanciful illuminations in the wide- 
spreading avenues and flower-gardens, the scene on 
these occasions more resembles fairyland than reality. 
We may conclude by saying that the Story of the 
Cecils, past and present, is significantly a part of the 
history of England. 



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THE MARQUIS OF MONTROSE. 



A STRANGER with archaeological tastes on lately 
■**■ visiting Edinburgh asked a friend to point out to 
him the tomb of the Great Marquis of Montrbse. The 
request was puzzling, for although it was known that 
the remains of Montrose had been buried in Edinburgh, 
people generally could tell nothing as to the situation 
of his tomb. The gentleman appealed to at length 
bethought himself from historical recollections that 
Montrose's tomb was somewhere in the church of St 
Giles, an old Gothic building that has undergone 
various vicissitudes. An eminent antiquary being con- 
sulted, the spot which had received the mangled 
remains of the Great Marquis was pointed out It 
was a dark cavern, underneath the southern side 
t of St Giles, reached by a flight of steps from the 
southern transept, and which was occupied as a 
coal-cellar. Inspecting this dismal cavern, there was 
no vestige of tomb or any sepulchral ornament The 
place was just a dirty, dingy coal-cellar, with a stove 
in one corner for sending warm air to the church 
above. We are not going to expatiate on so indecent 
a desecration ; but will proceed to tell in a brief way 



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TffE MARQUIS OF MONTROSE. 207 

the story of the distinguished man whose bones lie 
mouldering in that miserable coal-cellar. 

The family of Graham, which attained to rank under 
the titular distinction of Montrose, is said to have 
settled in Scotland in the reign of David I., about the 
middle of the twelfth century. Brave and useful at 
a time when personal bravery was of importance, the 
family for various services had grants of land from 
the crown, and gradually rose to eminence. The first 
notable member of the family was Sir John Grasm of 
Dundaff, who during the wars of the succession fell 
at the battle of Falkirk, 1298. Early in the fifteenth 
century, Sir William Graham married for his second 
wife a daughter of Robert III. Robert, the eldest son 
of this branch, was ancestor of the Grahams of Claver- 
honse. The principal line of the Grahams having lands 
in Kincardine and Forfar shires, burst into distinction 
in the peerage in the reign of James L Patrick 
Graham having been one of the hostages to the English 
for the ransom of James, returned home in 1432, and 
was soon after created a peer as Baron Graham. The 
grandson of this personage was created Earl of Mon- 
trose in 1504. Hence there was a succession of 
several earls, whom it is unnecessary to individualise, 
until we come to James, fifth Earl of Montrose, born 
in 1 61 2, and who succeeded his father in 1626. Now 
comes the history of the notable man of the family. 

While a youth, James Graham was sent to the 
University of St Andrews by his guardian and brother- 
in-law, Archibald, Lord Napier, son of the famous 
inventor of logarithms. He was an apt if not an 
ardent student, and during the two or three seasons of 
his attendance at college, acquired a respectable amount 



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2o8 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

of classical knowledge, besides exhibiting a genuine 
predilection for literature, which the stormy character 
of his after-life never quite destroyed. In his seven- 
teenth year he married Lady Magdalen Carnegie, sixth 
daughter of the first Earl of Southesk, by whom he had 
two sons. On the occasion of his marriage, he had his 
portrait painted by Jameson, the pupil of Van Dyck. 
For the next three years he lived quietly at Kinnaird 
Castle, pursuing his studies. Having attained his 
majority, he left Scotland to travel on the continent, 
visited the academies of France and Italy, and per- 
fected himself in all the accomplishments becoming 
a gentleman and a soldier. 

Returning home, the young Earl of Montrose arrived 
about the time when Charles I. began his fatal struggle 
with the English parliament, and when Scotland was in 
a state of religious perturbation. In all quarters, things 
were verging towards a civil war — on the one side 
royalists, on the other Puritans and Covenanters. It 
was a grave crisis, and a young man entering the world 
behoved seriously to consider to which party he would 
attach himself. Naturally, from family tradition and 
his own fervour of character, the Earl of Montrose 
would probably have declared himself for the royalists ; 
but, as is alleged from a cold reception at court, or 
other causes, he threw in his fate with the Covenanting 
lords, and was zealous in the cause. In short, he took 
part with the majority of the nation, who, in the first 
place, honestly contending for civil and religious liberty, 
were not aware that in revolutionary progress there is 
usually a lower depth, in which anarchy ends in military 
despotism. It was distinctly so on the present occa- 
sion, and in not a very long time did Montrose see 



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THE MARQUIS OF MONTROSE. 209 

that he had been too precipitate in his choice of party. 
At first, he zealously took part in framing the famous 
National Covenant, 1638; and in the year following he 
made three military expeditions to overawe the royalists 
in Aberdeenshire. He twice took the city of Aberdeen, 
imposing heavy fines, but resisting the importunities of 
Covenanting zealots to expose the town to the horrors 
of conflagration. His humanity, although redounding 
to his credit, was doomed to be a drawback on his 
character. 

For a time, national distractions were allayed by con- 
cessions made by Charles I., who, in a conciliatory 
spirit, invited the leading Covenanting nobles to meet 
him at Berwick. By attending this meeting, Montrose is 
alleged to have been henceforth more lukewarm in the 
cause he had espoused. Yet, in 1640, when a Scottish 
force crossed the Tweed under the command of Leslie, 
in order to join the troops of the Parliament at York, 
Montrose was the first man who forded the river. 
Recalled to Scotland, he was accused of plotting against 
Argyll, who occupied a prominent place in the Scottish 
Estates, and was confined in Edinburgh Castle, where 
he remained till the beginning of 1642, when he was 
set at liberty. Whether from the indignity he felt at his 
treatment by Argyll on this occasion, or from a growing 
conviction that he had erred in attaching himself to the 
popular party, Montrose soon broke with the Cove- 
nanters, and privately ranged himself on the side of 
the king. 

Set right, as he considered, in the line of duty at a 
tremendous national struggle, Montrose plunged with 
heroic energy into the cause of Charles L, which was 
already almost desperate. Erecting the royal standard 



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2io STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

at Dumfries, he was excommunicated by the Commis- 
sion of the General Assembly, 1644, and obliged to 
retire into England. In the same year, in reward for 
his loyalty, the king raised him to the dignity of 
Marquis of Montrose. After the defeat of Prince 
Rupert at Marston Moor, he left his men with that 
general, and returned to Scotland in the hope of raising 
forces in the Highlands. Now may be said to begin 
his most brilliant military exploits. For a time he 
travelled in the disguise of a groom with only two 
attendants — a circumstance that Sir Walter Scott has 
made use of in his Legend of Montrose. There is hardly 
anything in British history more chivalrous than what 
ensued. In a marvellous, manner gathering together 
troops, Montrose attacked an army of the Covenanters, 
consisting of upwards of six thousand foot and horse, 
at Tippermuir, 1st September 1644, totally routed them, 
and took their artillery and baggage, without losing a 
man. Perth immediately surrendered to Montrose, and 
he had some further successes; but threatened by a 
superior force under the Marquis c-f Argyll, he retreated 
northwards into Badenoch, and thence sweeping down 
into Argyllshire, he mercilessly ravaged the country of 
the Campbells. Exasperated with the devastation 
of his estates, Argyll marched against Montrose, 
who, not waiting to be attacked, surprised the army 
of the Covenanters at Inverlochy, 2d February 1645, 
and totally defeated them, no fewer than fifteen hundred 
of the clan Campbell perishing in the battle, while 
Montrose lost only four or five men. 

Brilliant as were these victories, they had no abiding 
influence in quenching this terrible civil war. It was 
a game of winning and losing; and looking to the feet 



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THE MARQUIS OF MONTROSE. 211 

that the Scotch generally took the side of the Cove- 
nant, the struggle was almost hopeless. Still Montrose 
was undaunted. After the Inverlochy affair, he went 
southwards through Elgin and Banff into Aberdeen- 
shire, carrying everything before him. Major-general 
Baillie, a second-rate Covenanting commander, and 
his lieutenant, General Hurry, were at Brechin, with 
a force to oppose him; but Montrose, by a dex- 
terous movement, eluded them, captured and [pillaged 
the city of Dundee, and escaped safely into the 
Grampians. On the 4th May, he attacked, and 
by extraordinary generalship, routed Hurry at Auld- 
earn, near Nairn. After enjoying a short respite 
with his fierce veterans in Badenoch, he again issued 
from his wilds, and inflicted a still more disastrous 
defeat on Baillie, at Alford, in Aberdeenshire, July 2. 
There was now nothing to prevent his march south, 
and he set out with a force of from five thousand to six 
thousand men. The proper thing would have been to 
attack and capture Stirling, but that town was suffering 
from plague, and it was discreetly let alone. Cross- 
ing the Forth at the fords of Frew, eight miles above 
Stirling, he drew his army through the hilly ground 
in the centre of Stirlingshire, apparently designing to 
attack Glasgow, which was the only considerable town 
in the south of Scotland now free of the plague. 
But before executing that purpose, he was overtaken by 
Baillie at Kilsyth, and obliged to come to an engage- 
ment. The force at the command of Baillie was con- * 
siderable, and he might have achieved a victory, if left 
to his own judgment. Unfortunately for him, he had 
to submit to the direction of a Committee of the Estates, 
not well acquainted with military affairs. 



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212 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

Montrose was well posted among a cluster of cottages 
and gardens, and his men had little to apprehend in 
case of attack. They, however, felt discouraged on 
observing a horse regiment which took up its position 
opposite to them. When the royalists saw the breast- 
plates of these men glittering in the sun, they could not 
help expressing some reluctance to charge them, com- 
plaining that they had to fight men clothed in iron, on 
whose persons their swords could be of no avail Mon- 
trose overheard the muttering which went on along 
the line ; and he no sooner heard it, than his ready 
genius suggested an idea, by which he might not only 
obviate the evil effects which it was calculated to pro- 
duce, but even turn to his own advantage the circum- 
stance which occasioned it. ' Gendemen/ he said to 
the cavalry around him, 'do you see these cowardly 
rascals whom you beat at Tippermuir and Auldearn? 
Their officers, I declare, have at last found it impossible 
to bring them again before you, without first securing 
them against your blows with coats of mail. To shew 
our contempt for them, we '11 fight them, if you please, 
in our shirts.' 

With this brilliant sally, Montrose threw off his 
own coat and waistcoat, buckled up the sleeves of his 
shirt, and drawing his sword with an air of peculiar 
resolution and ferocity, immediately stood before them 
a perfect living statue or model of all that can be 
conceived terrific in the appearance of a soldier. 
His cavalry, who heard his address, were the first 
to imitate his example; and from them the enthu- 
siasm of the moment speedily spread to the remoter 
ranks of the Highlanders and Irish. The proposal 
being, indeed, recommended by the heat of the 



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THE MARQUIS OF MONTROSE. 213 

day, it was everywhere received with applause. The 
horsemen contented themselves with merely taking off 
their upper garments, and buckling up their shirt 
sleeves; but the foot stripped their whole persons, 
even to their feet, retaining only their shirts, the skirts 
of which they tied betwixt their legs, while they also 
bared their arms to the shoulder. The people of this 
district of Scotland still retain a terrible remembrance 
of Montrose's naked army, which fought, they say, more 
like butchers than soldiers. 

The battle soon commenced, the royalist Highlanders 
being ably supported by Lord Airlie with a squadron of 
Ogilvies, who drove back the Covenanters. Terrified 
beyond measure by the appearance of the naked and 
savage-looking royalists, certain Fife regiments which 
Baillie had brought into the field, turned and dispersed 
themselves in every direction over the wide irregular 
country behind them. Montrose's men immediately 
gave chase, and put great numbers to death. Those 
on horseback alone escaped. The fugitive officers 
chiefly fled towards Stirling. The Marquis of Argyll 
did not stop till he reached the little port of South 
Queensferry, upwards of twenty miles from the fatal 
field, where, taking boat, he got on board a vessel 
lying in the Firth of Forth, and so stood out to sea. 
The number of slain was upwards of six thousand, 
with very few killed on the side of the royalists. 

The victory so effected, 15th August 1645, was the 
greatest Montrose ever gained. His triumph was com- 
plete, for the victory of Kilsyth put him in possession 
of the whole of Scotland. The government of the 
country was broken up; every organ of the recent 
administration, civil and ecclesiastical, at once vanished. 



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-214 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

The conqueror was hailed as 'the great Marquis of 
Montrose.' Glasgow yielded him tribute and homage; 
counties and burghs compounded for mercy. The city 
of Edinburgh humbly deprecated his vengeance, and 
implored his pardon and forgiveness. While encamped 
at Bothwell, he received a commission from Charles 
L, constituting him Lieutenant-governor of Scotland, 
and general of all his Majesty's forces there. He. was 
also honoured with a communication to proceed towards 
the border, and there, with the help of noblemen of 
influence, including the Earls of Home, Roxburghe, and 
Traquair, fall upon the Scottish army in the north of 
England. 

It was easy for the king in his great straits in England 
to invest him with supreme authority. Montrose had 
not the power to execute the orders imposed on him. 
His army melted away, for he had no means of securing 
adherence. Nominally at the head of power, he was 
in fact powerless. With all his masterly ability, he had 
been only a successful commander in a kind of guerrilla 
warfare — not the appointed and trusted generalissimo of 
a kingdom. It may be admitted that he had nominally 
restored the royal authority, and properly^ supported, 
all would have been well As it was, his authority 
was but an empty pageant Two months before the 
battle of Kilsyth, the royal forces in England were 
totally defeated at Naseby, and matters were tending 
towards the surrender of the king. The conquests of 
Montrose were, in fact, valueless. He had fought a 
great tight, and it was sad to think with how little avail 
Perhaps he was not quite aware of the low pass 
which the king's affairs had reached in England; nor 
did he know that the members of the terrified Scotch 



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THE MARQUIS OF MONTROSE. 215 

Estates could at once bring across the border an over- 
powering squadron of those indomitable Ironsides who 
had laid the royal authority in the dust Not without 
a degree of pity do we read what ensued. 

As if nothing could interrupt him in his march to 
the southern border, Montrose set out with a consider- 
ably diminished army, consisting of no more than 
seven hundred foot and two hundred mounted gentle- 
men. When near the border, he learned that General 
Leslie had reached Berwick with a detachment to 
intercept him, whereupon he resolved to retreat to the 
Highlands, where he could manoeuvre with some degree 
of advantage. Acting on this resolution, he arrived on 
the night of the 12th September at a plain called 
Philiphaugh, near the town of Selkirk, and there his 
small army was encamped, while he took up his quarters 
in the town. The scouts whom he sent out in all 
directions brought no tidings of Leslie and his forces, 
although as a matter of fact they were quartered in the 
village of Melrose, only a few miles distant 'Thick 
mists are said to have been the cause of this want of 
information, which, however, we must impute to negli- 
gence or treachery. At all events, Leslie with a body 
of four thousand horse marched along the bank of the 
Tweed from Melrose in the morning of the 13 th, and 
presented themselves to the small and dismayed body 
of royalists at Philiphaugh. 

Montrose at the first note of alarm hurried on horse- 
back from the town, and putting himself at the head 
of his small band of cavalry, met the huge force with 
a firmness perfectly admirable. He even managed 
with this little band to repulse and stagger the great 
squadrons which attacked them. Again they came up 



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216 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

to the charge ; and again they were driven back. The 
bravery displayed by this desperate few was all in vain. 
A detachment that Leslie had sent to make a circuit 
and fall on the rear of the royalists, at this moment 
came down with flashing sabres on Montrose's small 
band of heroes, and at once decided the fate of the 
day. Finding themselves in danger of being completely 
surrounded and cut off, the party which had been 
led by Montrose broke away, making off through such 
portions of the field as seemed clearest of the enemy, 
each providing as he best might for his own safety. 
For a short time Montrose continued to fight in a sort 
of despair, supported by thirty brave friends who stuck 
to him. At length, on being entreated to spare himself 
for the sake of the royal cause, he gave the word to 
retreat, and the mass of Leslie's army made no 
attempt to oppose him. 

With a few trusty followers on horseback, Montrose 
passed over the wild hill of Minchmuir to Traquair. 
Thence he proceeded westwards, crossing the Tweed 
at Howford, and following the road by an avenue of 
old elms, which led to the ancient tower of Ormiston. 
There is still a legend in the locality regarding the 
haggard appearance of the party in passing up the 
avenue, and of the short stay they made at the tower, 
which has been versified : 

These ancient elms a tale could tell, 
Of that famed flight o'er Minchmuir Fell, 
When gaUant Graham, escaped from foes, 
Alighted here for brief repose. 

From Ormiston, Montrose went by -an old road along 
the high grounds to Peebles. There he rested for a 



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THE MARQUIS OF MONTROSE. 217 

night with his followers, previous to making his retreat 
to the Highlands. 

On the flight of Montrose from Philiphaugh, his 
little army surrendered themselves prisoners. For safe 
custody, they were conducted to Newark Castle, an 
ancient mansion belonging to the Buccleuch family, at 
the opening to the vale of Yarrow. Confined to the 
court-yard of the castle, the prisoners expected that 
their lives would be spared. With no wish to commit 
an act unwarranted by the usages of war, Leslie was 
disposed to be merciful ; but constrained by the solici- 
tations or commands of his gloomy clerical associ- 
ates, he caused the whole to be shot by his troopers 
— a base act that remains a stain on his character. 
It was a horrid massacre. The spot where the poor 
wretches were buried in a field in the neighbourhood, is 
still called ' the Slain Men's Lee.' 

The battle of Philiphaugh, which lasted little more than 
half an hour, was fought on Saturday, 13th September 
1645. By the victory achieved by the Covenanting forces 
all that had been effected by the battle of Kilsyth was 
undone. Montrose was a helpless wanderer. His 
attempts to raise a fresh insurrection in favour of the 
royal authority were abortive, and at length were put a 
stop to by the surrender of Charles I. to parliamentary 
commissioners, followed by the king's withdrawal of 
his commission. Till more auspicious times, Montrose 
went abroad. At Paris, he became acquainted with 
Cardinal de Retz ; and that penetrating judge describes 
him in his Memoirs as one of those heroes, of whom 
there are no longer any specimens in the world, and 
who are only to be met with in Plutarch. 

We now come to the last act in this melancholy drama. 



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218 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

Healing of the death of Charles L, Montrose offered 
his services to Charles II., who was residing as a refugee 
at the Hague, and by him was authorised to conduct a 
fresh expedition into Scotland. He entered on this 
enterprise with his usual spirit; landing at Orkney 
with some forces early in 1650. The campaign was 
of short duration. In passing through the county of 
Sutherland, his party were intercepted by General 
Strachan, and dispersed. Montrose wandered about 
for some time in the mountainous country, in which he 
was nearly starved for want of food. At length he was 
taken prisoner, and sent on to Edinburgh, at which he 
was aware an ignominious death awaited him. 

On Saturday, 18th May, the captured hero was brought 
into Edinburgh by the gateway at the foot of the 
Canongate. Here commenced the series of ignominious 
inflictions, which had been decreed by the committee 
of the Scotch Estates. He was in the first place com- 
manded by the hangman to uncover himself in obe- 
dience to the terms of his sentence. On his refusing or 
hesitating to do so, the hangman rudely snatched off 
his hat, and took it away from him. He was then 
placed in a cart, which had been constructed on 
purpose for his transportation through the city, and 
which was peculiarly calculated to exhibit his person to 
the crowd Bound in a tall chair, he was carted to 
the Tolbooth, with every circumstance of disgrace. In 
going up the Canongate, the procession passed in front 
of Moray House, on the stone balcony of which stood 
the Marquis of Argyll and his family, to see the show. It 
has been stated that in the depth of her hatred and con- 
tempt, the Marchioness of Argyll leant over the balcony 
and had the meanness to spit upon the unfortunate hero. 



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THE MARQUIS OF MONTROSE. 219 

On the Monday following this degrading exhibition, 
Montrose was brought by summons before parliament 
Before this tribunal he delivered a pathetic and manly 
appeal, vindicating his actions ; and in particular shew- 
ing that he had changed his original principles only 
on discovering that certain leaders of the Covenanting 
party designed to take the life of the king and to 
subvert the monarchy, which in point of fact had been 
done. His address, of course, made no impression 
on his hearers. He was sentenced to be hanged, 
beheaded, and dismembered next day at three o'clock. 
He heard his doom with dauntless fortitude. In the 
ensuing night he reduced his last sentiment to verse, 
and inscribed it on the window of his cell The 
lines were afterwards found to run as follows : 

Let them bestow on every airt a limb, 

Then open all my veins, that I may swim 

To thee, my Maker, in that crimson lake ; 

Then place my parboiled head upon a stake ; 

Scatter my ashes, throw them in the air ; 

Lord ! since thou knowest where all these atoms are, 

I 'm hopeful thou 'It recover once my dust, 

And confident thou 'It raise me with the just 

Any account of the execution of Montrose must neces- 
sarily be passed over. It is sufficient to say that dressing 
himself ceremoniously as if for a festive occasion, he 
submitted with dignity to his fate. After life was extinct, 
his body was dismembered on the scaffold; his head 
stuck on a pike at the west end of the prison or 
Tolbooth of Edinburgh, and other parts of his person 
placed over the gateways of different towns; while 
the trunk was buried underneath the gallows, on the 
Boroughmuir. Thus perished the great Marquis of 



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220 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

Montrose, May 21, 1650. At the time, the body which 
held rule in Scotland doubtless felt justified in what 
they did; but, as everybody is aware, they were destined 
to undergo a speedy and fearful awakening. In less 
than six months afterwards, September 3, Oliver Crom- 
well defeated the Scotch under Leslie at Dunbar, follow- 
ing on which, a year later, was the defeat, at Worcester, 
whereupon all that the Covenanting party had been 
contending for was ruthlessly stamped out. The General 
Assembly was dispersed by military violence ; and Scot- 
land was reduced to the condition of an appanage of 
England. This in plain terms is what the Covenanting 
party brought on the country. In the changing of his 
views, Montrose was seen to have been in the right. 

So matters remained until 1660, when monarchy 
was restored in the person of Charles II. A revul- 
sion of feeling now ensued regarding Montrose. His 
scattered remains were collected and deposited in 
the Abbey Church of Holyrood, where they remained 
till 14th May 1661, when the body was, with the 
greatest solemnity and magnificence, carried to the 
church of St Giles, and interred in the vault under- 
neath the Montrose aisle — a vault which has been 
tastelessly suffered to degenerate into the coal-cellar 
already alluded to. It is to be hoped that something 
will be done to restore the aisle and the vault in a 
manner befitting the memory of the Great Marquis. 

Little can be said of Montrose's family. Of his two 
sons, the elder pre-deceased him ; and he was succeeded 
by his other son, James, as second Marquis, to whom 
the title was restored. There was hence a regular suc- 
cession till the present day. James, the fourth Marquis, 
who took an active part in promoting tfye Union, was 



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THE MARQUIS OF MONTROSE. 221 

advanced to the dignity of Duke of Montrose, 1707. 
The present peer succeeded as fifth Duke, 1874. 

As an agreeable conclusion to our story of the Great 
Marquis of Montrose, we may present a correct copy 
of a much-admired lyrical ballad, of which he was the 
author. It is conceived in the true Cavalier style. 



LYRICAL BALLAD 

BY THE MARQUIS OF MONTROSE. 

My dear and only love, I pray 

That little world— of Thee— 
Be governed by no other sway 

Than purest Monarchy. 
For if confusion have a part, 

Which virtuous souls abhor, 
I '11 call a Synod in mine heart, 

And never love thee more. 

As Alexander I will reign, 

And I will reign alone ; 
My thoughts did evermore disdain 

A rival on my throne : 
He either fears his fate too much, 

Or his deserts are small, 
That dares not put it to the touch, 

To gain or lose it all. 

But I will reign, and govern still, 

And always give the law, 
And have each subject at my will, 

And all to stand in awe ; 
But 'gainst my batteries if I find 

Thou kick, or vex me sore, 
As that thou set me up a blind, 

1 11 never love thee more. 



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222 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

And in the Empire of thine heart, 

Where I should solely be, 
If others do pretend a part, 

Or dare to vie with me, 
Or if Committees thou erect, 

And go on such a score, 
1 11 laugh and sing at thy neglect, 

And never love thee more. 

But if thou wilt prove faithful then, 

And constant of thy word, 
I'll make thee glorious by my pen, 

And. famous by my sword ; 
1 11 serve thee in such noble ways 

Was never heard before, 
I '11 crown, and deck thee all, with bays, 

And love thee more and more. 



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THE BUCCLEUCH FAMILY. 



'T'HE stoiy of the Scotts of Buccleuch carries us back 
•*• more than five hundred years, to a time when 
society in Scotland was in a comparatively unsettled 
condition. In the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, 
the family is seen to have had pretty large possessions 
in several southern counties. Their earliest posses- 
sions were Kirkurd and Scotstoun, in the county of 
Peebles. Richard, one of these Peeblesshire Scotts, 
who lived from 1265 to about 1320, acquired by 
marriage the lands of Murthockston, now Murdieston, 
in Lanarkshire, which have not remained, however, in 
the family. Richard is supposed to have been a younger 
brother of Walter le Scott; and in the second half 
of the thirteenth century he was made Ranger of 
Ettrick Forest, which brought into his possession the 
lands of Rankilburn, in Selkirkshire. That estate com- 
prehends a wild, lonely, and narrow valley, diverging 
from the larger vale of Ettrick. One of the many 
ravines or cleuchs in the Rankilburn is called Buccleuch. 
Here, the Scotts built a manor-house, and from their 
residence there they gradually dropped the designation 
of Rankilburn, and adopted that of Buccleuch. 
The 6ixth in the main line in the genealogical tree 



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224 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

was Sir Walter Scott, Lord of Murdieston. According 
to common legend, finding that his property in Lanark- 
shire was too peaceful to offer any field for enterprise, 
he exchanged it in 1446 for half the barony of Branks- 
holm in Teviotdale ; and it is said that after the bargain 
was completed, he dryly observed, that although he 
might suffer by his near neighbourhood to the borders, 
* the Cumberland cattle were as good as those of Teviot- 
dale.' We must deem this to have been a jocular myth ; 
for the Lord of Murdieston was not a marauder, but a 
man of peaceful habits, and acted as one of the conser- 
vators of the truce with England from 1438 to 1460. 
Its vicinity to his Selkirkshire property was more 
probably the reason for his acquiring Branksholm, or 
Branksome as it is now called. At all events, Brank- 
some Hall long remained a favourite residence of the 
Scotts of Buccleuch, and it still pertains to them in 
a modernised and enlarged form. The purchase of land 
was not common in Scotland at that period. There 
was no wealth derived from commerce, as in the 
present day, to invest in the purchase of estates, and the 
barons generally were too poor to do more than keep 
up a petty state on their domains. Yet, at that time 
estates underwent constant transfers, and the founda- 
tion of great territorial properties was laid. The fertile 
source of these changes was forfeiture to the crown 
on account of acts of rebellion, and the estates thus 
attainted being usually conferred by the king on those 
who aided him in allaying these unhappy disorders. 
The secularisation of monastic and church property at 
the Reformation, was another means of territorial exten- 
sion among favourites of the crown. By lucky gifts of 
this kind, the greatness of many families was established. 



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THE BUCCLEUCH FAMILY. 225 

The rebellion of the Douglases in 1455, and their 
defeat at Arkenholm, near Langholm, left vast spoils 
to be distributed among the Maxwells, Johnstons, and 
Scotts. Only for a time did the House of Douglas 
suffer a reverse of fortune. It revived in the Earl of 
Angus during the early years of the reign of James V. 
At the king's request, Sir Walter Scott of Branksholm 
collected about a thousand men to rescue him from 
Angus. This led to the battle of Melrose, in 1526. 
The conflict, still remembered on the borders, ended 
in the defeat of Buccleuch; but the king at length 
succeeded in emancipating himself from the hands of 
the Douglases. Sir Walter Scott had a share in the 
confiscation of the property of the Earl of Angus, 
obtaining a grant of the lordship of Jedburgh Forest, 
1528. The possession of extensive estates by the 
Buccleuch family on the Scottish border, is therefore 
partly due to such fortunate windfalls as the confis- 
cations of the property of Angus. We have to 
admire the good sense of the family, shewn in 
preserving their ancient possessions through successive 
generations, instead of squandering them, as some 
others have unfortunately done. 

To quote from the Peerage of Sir Robert Douglas : 
'Sir Walter Scott being extremely obnoxious to the 
English, the Earl of Northumberland, in 1532, detached 
fifteen hundred men, who ravaged and plundered his 
lands, and burned Branksome, but failed in their prin- 
cipal object, which was to kill or make him prisoner. 
In resentment of this, Sir Walter and other border 
chiefs assembled three thousand men, whom with 
consummate skill and valour they conducted into 
England. They laid waste a large part of Northumber- 
o 



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226 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

land, baffled and defeated the English, and returned 
home loaded with prey.' Following on this affair, pro- 
ceedings were instituted against Sir Walter, having their 
origin in the feuds betwixt the Scotts and Kerrs, alluded 
to in the Lay of the Last Minstrel. But after the death 
of James V. Sir Walter was re-established by act of 
parliament in his estates, honours, and dignities. The 
next thing we hear of Sir Walter was that he had 
charters of Deloraine and other lands, so far adding 
to the family possessions. Sir Walter terminated a life 
of vigorous exertion in 1552, when he fell in an 
encounter with Sir Walter Kerr of Cessford (ancestor 
of the Duke of Roxburghe) on the High Street of 
Edinburgh. 

There was a succession of Sir Walters, all knights, 
which in history is a little confusing. We pass on to 
the famous Sir Walter who distinguished himself by a 
daring and well-conducted enterprise, 13th April 1596. 
The incident was that which is commemorated in the 
ballad of Kinmont Willie, in the Minstrelsy of the 
Scottish Border. We shall relate it as briefly as 
possible, adopting the narrative given in the Minstrelsy. 

Lord Scroop being the English warden on the west 
marches, and the Laird of Buccleuch having the charge 
of Liddesdale, they sent their deputies to keep a day of 
truce, for redress of some ordinary matters. The place 
of meeting was at Dayholme of Kershop, where a small 
burn divides England from Scotland. There met as 
deputy for the Laird of Buccleuch, 'Robert Scott of 
Hayning ; and for the Lord Scroop, a gentleman within 
the west wardenry, called Mr Salkeld. These two, after 
truce taken and proclaimed, as the custom was, by sound 
of trumpet, met, in a manner, friendly, and upon 



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THE BUCCLEUCH FAMIL K 227- 

mutual redress of such wrongs as were then com- 
plained of, parted on good terms, each taking his way 
homewards. Meanwhile, it happened that one William 
Armstrong, commonly called Will of Kinmont, was in 
company with the Scottish deputy, against whom the 
English had a quarrel for many wrongs he had com- 
mitted. This man having taken his leave of the Scots 
deputy, and riding down the river of Liddel on the 
Scottish side, towards his own house, was espied, from 
the other side of the river, by the English, who then 
pursued him. After a chase of three or four miles, 
he was taken prisoner, and brought to the English 
deputy, who carried him away to the castle of Carlisle. 

' The Laird of Buccleuch complaining of the breach 
of truce (which was always taken from the time of 
meeting unto the next day at sun-rising), wrote to Mr 
Salkeld and craved redress. He excused himself by the 
absence of the Lord Scroop. Whereupon Buccleuch 
sent to the Lord Scroop, and desired the prisoner might 
be set at liberty without any bond or condition, seeing 
he was unlawfully taken. Scroop answered that he 
could do nothing in the matter, it having so happened, 
without a direction from the Queen and Council of 
England, considering the man was such a malefactor. 
Buccleuch, loath to inform the king of what was done, 
lest it might have bred some misliking betwixt the 
princes, dealt with Mr Bowes, the resident ambassador 
of England, for the prisoner's liberty; who wrote very 
seriously to the Lord Scroop in that business, advising 
him to set the man free. But no answer was returned. 
The matter thereupon was imparted to the king, and 
the queen of England was solicited by letters to give 
direction for his liberty; yet nothing was obtained; 



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228 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

which Buccleuch perceiving, and apprehending that the 
king and himself were touched in honour, he resolved 
to rescue the prisoner by the best means he could. 

'Upon intelligence that the castle of Carlisle was 
surprisable, he gathered together two hundred horse, 
assigning the place of meeting at the tower of Morton, 
some ten miles from Carlisle, an hour before sunset 
With this company, passing the water of Esk, he about 
two hours before day crossed the Eden beneath Carlisle 
Bridge, and came to the plain under the castle. There 
making a little halt at the side of a small burn, he 
caused eighty of the company to light from their horses 
and take the ladders and other instruments which he had 
prepared, with them. He himself accompanying them to 
the foot of the wall, caused the ladders to be set to it ; 
which proving too short, he gave order to use the other 
instruments for opening the wall nigh the postern j and 
finding the business likely to succeed, retired to the rest 
whom he had left on horseback, for assuring those that 
entered upon the castle against any eruption from the 
town. With some little labour a breach was made for 
single men to enter, and they who first went in broke 
open the postern for the rest The watchmen and some 
few whom the noise awaked, made a little resistance, 
but they were quickly silenced and made captive. After 
which they passed to the chamber wherein the prisoner 
was kept; and having brought him forth, sounded a 
trumpet, which was a signal to them without that 
the enterprise was performed. By the time the prisoner 
was brought forth, the town had taken the alarm, the 
drums were beating, the bells ringing, and a beacon 
put on the top of the castle to give warning to 
the country. Whereupon Buccleuch commanded his 



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THE BUCCLEUCH FAMILY. 229 

company and the prisoner to horse ; and made to the 
river Eden, at which certain persons were assembled 
to stop his passage; but he caused the trumpet to 
be sounded, took the river, day being then breaking, 
and meeting with no opposition, he retired in order into 
Scottish ground, and so went on his way homewards. 

'The queen of England having notice of the event, 
stormed not a little. One of her chief castles surprised, 
a prisoner taken forth of the hands of the warden, and 
carried away, so far within England, she esteemed a 
great affront.' The affair created much ill-feeling 
between the two nations, and much anxious diplomacy 
was carried on before a satisfactory arrangement was 
concluded by the Commissioners at Berwick. 

The ballad of. Kinmont Willie, in the Minstrelsy, 
adheres pretty closely to the narrative in the form that 
is generally accepted, and which has just been related. 
Buccleuch, spoken of as * the bauld Buccleuch,' suffers 
nothing in valour in the poetical description. How 
he got across the Eden in his retreat northwards is 
told with characteristic vivacity. 

Buccleuch has turned to Eden water, 
Even where it flowed frae bank to brim, 

And he has plunged in wi' a* his band, 
And safely swam them through the stream. 

He turned him on the other side, 

And at Lord Scroop his glove flung he — 

' If ye like na my visit in merry England, 
In fair Scotland come visit me ! ' 

All sore astonished stood Lord Scroop ; 

He stood as stiU as rock of stane ; 
He scarcely dared to turn his eyes, 

When through the water they had gane. 



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-230 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

Incidental to the proceedings that ensued on the 
Kinmont Willie affair, Sir Walter Scott was surrendered 
to the English, and was presented to Queen Elizabeth. 
According to a family tradition, when presented to the 
Queen, she, in her usual abrupt manner, demanded 
of him how he dared to undertake an enterprise so 
desperate and presumptuous. 'What is it/ answered 
the undaunted chieftain — 'what is it that a man dares 
not do?' Elizabeth, struck with the reply, said to 
a lord in waiting : ' With ten thousand such men, our 
brother of Scotland might shake the firmest throne in 
Europe.' 

The union of the crowns in 1603 led to measures for 
finally suppressing disorders on both sides of the border. 
It was, however, no easy matter to reduce to orderly 
habits men who clung to old traditions, and had been 
accustomed to rapine. At this juncture, Sir Walter 
Scott of Buccleuch rendered good service by raising 
a regiment of the boldest and most desperate of the 
Scottish borderers, and carried them over to the Nether- 
lands to assist Maurice Prince of Orange in his warfare 
with the Spaniards. For his services on this occasion, 
the king raised him to the dignity of the peerage, by 
the title of Lord Scott of Buccleuch. In 1608, he had 
a charter of the lands of Fernyhope and Dryhope in 
Selkirkshire. He died on the 5 th December 161 1. 
The family, now ennobled, rapidly rises to fresh titular 
distinctions. 

Walter, second Lord Scott of Buccleuch, had the 
command of a regiment in the service of the States 
of Holland, and served with great reputation against 
the Spaniards. In 16 19, he was advanced to the 
dignity of Earl of Buccleuch, and had charters of 



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THE BUCCLEUCH FAMIL K 231 

Canobie and other lands, by which the family estates 
were largely augmented. He died in the reign of Charles 
I., in 1633, and was succeeded by his son Francis 
as second Earl. In the lifetime of this nobleman, the 
family property was largely extended in 1642, by the 
addition of lands in Liddesdale, while the great barony 
of Dalkeith was acquired from the Morton family. 
The House, or as it is popularly called, the Palace 
of Dalkeith, now greatly modernised, is pleasantly situ- 
ated in the midst of an extensive and well-wooded 
park, adjoining the town of Dalkeith, at the distance 
of six miles from Edinburgh. In old times it belonged 
to the Douglas family, who here entertained the 
French historian Froissart, the chronicler of the chivalry 
of the fourteenth century. On the execution of James 
Douglas, who had been created Earl of Morton, 
Dalkeith was included in his attainder. The estate 
was finally restored to the family; yet the castle of 
Dalkeith, as it was then called, seems long to have 
been considered crown property, and used as a tem- 
porary residence by members of the royal family. It 
was also for some time a residence of General Monk, 
during his government of Scotland under Cromwell. 
Latterly, the castle of Dalkeith, in its altered form, 
became a residence of the Scotts of Buccleuch, who 
hence attained a territorial connection with Midlothian. 
Earl Francis married Lady Margaret Leslife, only 
daughter of John, sixth Earl of Rothes. He died in 
1 65 1, while still only in his twenty-fifth year, leaving 
two daughters, Lady Mary and Lady Anne. Lady 
Mary was served heir to her father in 1653, the patent 
of nobility admitting the right of heirs-female. Having 
been born in 1648, she was only a child when she thus 



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232 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

became Countess of Buccleuch in her own right. Her 
fate was pitiable. Here was a girl with the rank of 
Countess, and heir of large possessions, who being reck- 
oned the greatest heiress in Scotland, became an object of 
selfish interest to match-making mammas. Her own 
mother was among the number. This lady, when only 
about a year a widow, was married to David, second Earl 
of Wemyss. She is represented to have been a witty, 
active woman; and she laid a scheme for marrying her 
daughter, the girl Countess, to Walter Scott, son of 
Scott of Highchester. In the seventeenth century, the 
marrying of heiresses under twelve years of age was 
not an infrequent misdemeanour, and this was about 
the worst that occurred. Neither bride nor bridegroom 
could be deemed competent to enter into the marriage 
relationship. The marriage was celebrated in an irregu- 
lar manner in February 1659, when the young Countess 
was not yet twelve years of age, and young Scott, 
her husband, was only fourteen. To give an air of 
legality to the transaction, the young lady was induced 
to emit a declaration of her marriage in August 1659, 
when she had completed her twelfth year. To add to the 
shamefulness of the whole affair, the youthful Countess 
was afflicted with scrofula, for which after her marriage 
she was taken by her mother to London, to be touched 
by the king, according to the superstitious notions of 
the period. The king's 'touching for the EviP was 
of no avail. She died without issue on the 12 th March 
1661, in the thirteenth year of her age. In speaking of 
poor Countess Mary, we have barely glanced at events 
which might fittingly be the theme of a romance. 

By the death of Countess Mary, the succession to the 
title and estates of Buccleuch was opened up to her 



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THE BUCCLEUCH FAMIL Y. £33 

sister Anne. Whether the Countess of Wemyss engaged 
in schemes to get her second daughter matched in 
the way she had done with the first, we are unable to 
say. It is only certain there was the same indecent 
hurrying on pf a marriage at a premature age. In 1663, 
when Countess Anne was twelve years of age, she was 
married to James, Duke of Monmouth, son of Charles 
II. by Lucy, daughter of Richard Walters of Haver- 
fordwest, the Duke having at this time attained his 
fourteenth year. The marriage was celebrated in the 
house of the Earl of Wemyss, in London, in presence 
of the king and queen. According to an eye-witness 
(Grammont), the youthful pair had a striking appear- 
ance. Monmouth's figure and the external graces of his 
person were such, that Nature perhaps never formed 
anything more complete; his face was extremely 
handsome, and yet it was a manly face, neither 
inanimate nor effeminate, each feature having its pecu- 
liar beauty and delicacy. He had a wonderful genius 
for every exercise, an engaging aspect, and an air of 
grandeur. The lady's person was full of charms ; and 
her mind possessed all those perfections in which the 
handsome Monmouth was deficient. On the day he 
was married, Monmouth was created Duke of Buccleuch, 
Earl of Dalkeith, with succession to children of the 
marriage. On consulting Macaulay, it will be seen 
that Monmouth was a general favourite, and that the 
Protestant party had a vague idea that there existed 
proofs of his legitimacy. The circumstance of his being 
treated on all occasions as a member of the royal family, 
and of the honours paid to him generally, tended to 
confirm the idea, although resting on no proper 
foundation. 



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234 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

Except that he was heedless in his expenditure, no 
very grave fault could be imputed to Monmouth. As 
a commander of British auxiliaries abroad he did 
justice to his high appointment. As leader of the royal 
troops against the insurrection in Scotland in 1679, 
which terminated in the defeat of the Covenanters at 
Bothwell Brig, he acquitted himself with great discre- 
tion and humanity. The error of his life consisted in 
allowing himself to be used as a leader of the rebellion 
against his uncle, James II., in 1685. History tells 
us how his forces were totally routed at Sedgemoor; 
three days afterwards he was taken as a fugitive ; he was 
conducted to London, and receiving no hope of mercy, 
was taken to the Tower previous to execution. In 
this distressing position he was visited by his Duchess 
and her children, and a painful scene ensued. The 
Duke was beheaded, 15th July 1685. 

By the Duke of Buccleuch and Monmouth, the 
Duchess Anne had six children; and after the death 
of her husband, she resided occasionally in a style of 
princely splendour at Dalkeith Palace. Walter Scott 
describes the Duchess as being visited by the 'Last 
Minstrel ' at Newark, an ancient castle belonging to 
the Buccleuch family, at the opening of the Vale of 

Yarrow: 

He passed where Newark's stately tower 
Looks out from Yarrow's birchen bower : 
The Minstrel gazed with wishful eye — 
No humbler resting-place was nigh : 
With hesitating step, at last, 
The embattled portal arch he passed, 
Whose ponderous gate and massy bar 
Had oft rolled back the tide of war, 
But never closed the iron door 
Against the desolate and poor. 



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THE BUCCLEUCH FAMIL Y. 235 

The Duchess marked his weary pace, 
His timid mien and reverend face, 
And bade her page the menials tell, 
That they should tend the old man well : 
For she had known adversity, 
Though born in such a high degree ; 
In pride of power, in beauty's bloom, 
Had wept o'er Monmouth's bloody tomb. 

Three years after she had been rendered a widow by 
the death of Monmouth, the Duchess Anne married 
secondly Charles, third Lord Cornwallis, by whom 
she had three children. This remarkable woman 
survived until 1732, and died in the eighty-first year 
of her age; having, by wise economy and prudent 
administration of her estates, established the security 
of the Buccleuch domains, which had been somewhat 
endangered by the prodigality of Monmouth. Her 
Grace was succeeded by her grandson, Francis, as 
second Duke of Buccleuch. In 1720, His Grace 
married Lady Jean Douglas, second daughter of James, 
second Duke of Queensberry. As regards titular and 
territorial aggrandisement, this marriage, as will be 
immediately mentioned, proved to be fortunate for 
the Buccleuch family. 

The second Duke of Buccleuch was succeeded 
in 1 75 1, by his grandson, Henry, as third Duke, 
who afterwards travelled on the continent in com- 
panionship with Dr Adam Smith, a circumstance to 
which has been imputed the improvement and intel- 
ligent management of his property. Duke Henry 
is still remembered as a popular nobleman at the* 
end of the last, and beginning of the present century. 
He raised a body of Volunteer Fencibles among 
the tenantry of his own estates, and took much interest 



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236 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

in scientific pursuits and public affairs. Along with 
Principal Robertson, he was intimately concerned in 
establishing the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1783, 
and was its first President for a period of twenty- 
nine years. His Grace married Lady Elizabeth 
Montagu, eldest and last surviving daughter of George, 
Duke of Montagu, by which alliance large estates in 
England ultimately vested in the Buccleuch family. 
On the decease of William, fourth Duke of Queens- 
berry (Old Q, as he used to be called), the Duke of 
Buccleuch succeeded to the dignity of Duke of 
Queensberry and the extensive Drumlanrig estates, 
which, by subsequent and vast improvements and 
additions, are now of very great value. 

Duke Henry died in 181 2, and was succeeded by 
his elder son, Charles-William-Henry, who though 
having but a short lease of power, seems to have been 
as popular as his father. In a song written by Walter 
Scott, to commemorate a great football match on 
Carter Haugh, 1815, when the Duke's standard was 
raised, Duke Charles-William-Henry is thus alluded to : 

May the Forest still flourish, both Borough and Landward, 
From the hall of the Peer to the Herd's ingle neuk ; 

And huzza ! may brave hearts for Buccleuch and the Standard, 
For the King and the country, the clan and the Duke ! 

Charles-William-Henry was an enthusiast in forestry, 
and clothed every available and bleak hill-side with 
plantations. His expenditure on the Queensberry 
estates was princely, and is said to have amounted to 
eight times the revenue he derived from them. So 
much had the magnificent castle of Drumlanrig been 
allowed to fall into disrepair by ' Old Q,' that it cost 
the Duke of Buccleuch sixty thousand pounds to make 



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THE BUCCLEUCH FAMIL Y. 237 

it wind and water tight and fit for habitation. In 
the hard times that followed the close of the French 
war, the Duke found employment for nearly a 
thousand labourers. Sir Walter Scott relates a noble 
instance of his self-denial and his sense of responsi- 
bility towards all who had a claim upon him as their 
chie£ In the spring of 181 7, he was asked why he 
did not pay his usual visit to London. Duke Charles , 
reply was to shew a list of the day-labourers employed 
on his various estates, amounting to nine hundred and 
forty-seven persons. The Ettrick Shepherd was his 
favourite tenant, and a frequent guest at his table. By 
him Hogg was installed in the farm of Altrive Lake at 
a nominal rent A deadly malady, which for some 
time had been undermining his health, obliged the 
Duke to seek a southern climate. He was ordered 
to Lisbon, but died there in 1819. 

This estimable nobleman was succeeded by his 
eldest surviving son, Walter-Francis, the present Duke, 
bom in 1806. From a number of circumstances, some 
of which have been mentioned, quite an accumula- 
tion of titles fell to the lot of the heir to the family 
honours. According to the Peerage, the present Duke 
is fifth Duke of Buccleuch, seventh Duke of Queens- 
berry, Marquis of Dumfriesshire, Earl of Drumlanrig, 
Buccleuch, Sanquhar, and Dalkeith, &c, in the peerage 
of Scotland; and Earl of Doncaster, and Baron Tynedale, 
in the peerage of England. In 1829 he married Lady 
Charlotte Thynne, third and youngest daughter of 
Thomas, second Marquis of Bath, by whom he has a 
family; his heir-apparent being William-Henry-Walter 
Scott, ordinarily known as Earl of Dalkeith. We do 
not go into any enumeration of the many subordinate 



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238 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

honours pertaining to the Duke of Buccleuch, but 
simply add that His Grace occupies the position of 
Captain-general of the Royal Company of Archers of 
Scotland, and that his full-length portrait, executed by 
Sir Francis Grant, adorns the Hall of the Royal Com- 
pany at Edinburgh. 

A word in conclusion : The Scotts of Buccleuch have 
from their earlier records till the present day possessed 
a certain distinctive character. Unlike the Cecils and 
a number of other noble families, they have never been 
signalised in statesmanship. What they have been 
remarkable for is strong common-sense, vigour of char- 
acter, and a patriotic love of country of that guarded 
nature that has not broken into excess or eccentricity. 
Prudent and peace-loving, they offer a conspicuous 
instance of perpetuity in a line enduring and unchang- 
ing, and which always increasing in honours and terri- 
torial distinction, possesses the character of a corpora- 
tion, with itself for its charter. Families of this kind, 
whether ennobled or in the rank of commoners, are in 
a sense the glory of England. From generation to- 
generation extended over centuries, and respected and 
honoured, as they were in long-past times, they in a 
material degree help to give stability and dignity 
to the national institutions. It would be an error to 
think that this perpetuation in family distinction has 
been injurious to social progress. Generally it is 
the very reverse. Families like that we have been 
describing present a splendid example of some of the 
highest virtues owned by human nature. With a char- 
acter to sustain, they live decorously and modestiy on 
their heritable domains, taking a reasonable part in 
legislation and what concerns the public welfare. 



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THE BUCCLEUCH FAMILY* . 239 

One thing cannot be passed over. The uniform 
practice in Scotland is for land-proprietors to let their 
farms on lease by a written contract usually for nine- 
teen years. All the farm-buildings are erected at the 
cost of the landlord, and in every other respect he puts 
the farm into a tenantable condition ; the tenant being 
simply bound to pay a fixed annual rent, and not to 
deteriorate the property during his term of occupation. 
By arrangements of this kind, disputes between landlord 
and tenant are of rare occurrence, while the country 
at large is brought to a degree of agricultural perfection. 
Nowhere are the farm-buildings and general equipments 
of a better order than in the territorial possessions of 
the Buccleuch family, which are noted as among the 
best managed in the country. The lands, let on lease 
at a fair valued rent, according to changes in times and 
prices, have in some cases been occupied by the same 
family from father to son for more than a hundred years. 
The tenantry at large, while distinguishing themselves 
by their professional skill and enterprise, are equally 
noted for their loyal attachment to the noble family 
which shews so much interest in their welfare. In the 
assiduous and intelligent managing of his estates, the 
present Duke is alike untiring and generous. We 
venture to say that no person in commercial pursuits 
excels him as a man of business. Nor has he confined 
his enterprise to the duties of a land-improver. As 
is well known, he has expended vast sums in forming a 
pier and harbour at Granton, on the shore of the Firth 
of Forth, which promises to be of yearly increasing 
importance. It might be safe to aver that the works at 
Granton constitute the largest undertaking in Scotland 
executed by a private individual. 



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240 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

His Grace has the distinction of being a Knight of 
the Garter. As a token of general esteem, he was 
lately (May 7, 1878), on the occasion of his jubilee 
as a landlord, entertained at a public banquet in 
Edinburgh, when he was presented with an affectionate 
and complimentary address from seven hundred tenants 
on his estates in England and Scotland. This circum- 
stance, more than anything we could say, marks the 
general appreciation of the present Duke of Buccleuch 
and Queensberry. 



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THE ARGYLL FAMILY. 



TN his amusing fiction, 'A Legend of Montrose,* 
■*■ Sir Walter Scott picturesquely describes the arrival 
of Captain Dugald Dalgetty at the castle of Inveraray 
on a mission to the Marquis of Argyll. The spectacle 
presented to the soldier of fortune was startling — the 
gibbet from which several bodies depended, the huge 
beheading block and axe in the outer court-yard, the 
Marquis in gloomy grandeur environed by his sycor 
phantic adherents, including preachers of the stern sect 
of the period — the whole evidently consistent with his- 
torical accuracy, though tinctured with the genius of the 
writer ; and we may say the same of the scene which 
followed in the chapel of the castle, and of the vault 
from which Dalgetty managed to effect his escape. 
The feeling communicated by the vivid narrative is 
that the Marquis was a political and religious fanatic, 
who would not scruple to execute vengeance in the 
cause he had espoused. 

The Marquis to whom the novelist refers was Archi- 
bald, eighth Earl of Argyll, who was advanced to the 
dignity of Marquis in 1641, and was the personage . 
alluded to in a preceding story, as having lived in 
deadly enmity to the Marquis of Montrose. 



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242 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

The Argyll family, of which he was the head, was of 
an antiquity beyond the reach of ordinary record. It 
is traced to the lords or proprietors of the lands of 
Lochow, a territory in the western part of the county 
of Argyll. By the marriage of a female heir, Lochow 
passed into possession of a gentleman of Anglo-Norman 
lineage, named Campbell ; and hence Campbell became 
the surname of the family in the main line as well as 
in its numerous branches. Other versions are given 
of the origin of the name, and it is difficult to get at 
the truth on the subject The familiar designation given 
to the chief of the Argyll family was M'Callum More, 
son of the great Callum, and such is still employed 
by the Highlanders, who also use the traditional 
phrase, 'It is a far cry to Lochow;' signifying it would 
be difficult to reach them by any hostile measure. 

In 1445, Sir Duncan Campbell of Lochow, or Loch- 
awe, as it is now written, was raised to the peerage as 
Lord Campbell The family possessions were gradually 
increased by grants from the crown and otherwise, 
till at length the estates embraced Inveraray on Loch 
Fyne, and the Campbells became a formidable clan in 
the West Highlands. Colin, the grandson of the first 
Lord, was created Earl of Argyll, and he had a further 
lift in family distinction and territorial heritage by his 
marriage with the heiress of John, Lord Lome ; for he 
was authorised to add the designation of Lord Lome 
to his other titles, and took the galley of Lome into 
his heraldic achievement This accession of dignity 
occurred in 1470; shortly afterwards, the Earl had 
a charter of heritable sheriffship in Cowal, one of the 
districts of Argyllshire ; which important distinction was 
afterwards granted to the family over the whole county, 



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THE ARGYLL FAMILY. \ 243 

Colin, the third Earl, being created hereditary Lord 
Justice-general of Scotland. 

, Though much involved in public affairs, the Argyll 
family did not attain to any great historical notoriety, 
until Archibald, the eighth Earl, as above stated, 
was advanced to the dignity of Marquis in 1641. For 
about a century, the Earls of Argyll had been zealous 
promoters of the form of Protestantism introduced into 
Scotland at the Reformation; and from temperament 
and family leaning, the Marquis became a zealous adhe- 
rent of the stern religious party which, affected by the 
Puritanism that had sprung up in England, stood by the 
National Covenant, and hurled defiance at Charles I. 
No one could properly blame a national movement 
in favour of civil and religious liberty. Unfortunately, 
the party at the head of which Argyll placed himself, 
went far beyond defensive measures. Intolerant of all 
who differed from them in sentiment, they interfered 
in the Civil War in England, tried to extend Presbyte- 
rianism over that country ; and as has been observed in 
our story of the Marquis of Montrose, largely contributed 
to overthrow the monarchy, and to promote the military 
despotism of Cromwell. A candid consideration of 
history compels us to say that if Montrose went extrava- 
gant lengths in the royal cause, Argyll went quite as far 
in the opposite direction. 

Shortly after the Restoration, 1660, Argyll endea- 
voured to make up matters with Charles II., but 
without avail He was accused of having complied 
with the usurpation of Cromwell, instead of holding 
aloof, as he might have done, like many noblemen of 
the period; and sentence of death was pronounced 
against him by the Scottish authorities. The Marquis 



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244 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

of Argyll was beheaded, 27th May 1661. His head was 
struck off by the Maiden, an instrument resembling 
a guillotine, and was affixed on the west end of the 
Tolbooth of Edinburgh, where the head of Montrose had 
been till very lately perched ; a circumstance that very 
sensibly marks the vicissitudes of a time of civil dissen- 
sion. His body was conveyed to the family sepulchre 
at Kilmun, in Argyllshire. With few qualities to capti- 
vate the fancy, Argyll has always been esteemed by 
the people of Scotland as a meritorious patriot and 
martyr; in virtue of which has been overlooked that 
want of courage in the field which he shewed through- 
out the whole of the transactions of the Civil War, 
though often at the head of large bodies of troops. 

Archibald Campbell, son of the Marquis, and 
ordinarily known as Lord Lome, was equally unfortu- 
nate, though less distinguished as a political figurant 
He possessed many accomplishments, and particularly 
excelled in personal courage. Though his father's titles 
and estates were forfeited, he continued to be called 
Lord Lome ; and in 1663, he was restored to his grand- 
father's title of Earl of Argyll, and had a charter of the 
family property. This favour at court was by no means 
permanent In 1681, arose a discussion in the Scottish 
parliament concerning that bundle of absurdities known 
as the Test, which was imposed .without mercy upon 
all, especially such as lay under any suspicion of Presby- 
terianism. Argyll refused to take the oath of adherence 
to the Test, unless under qualifications ; and this being 
construed to be treasonous, he was found guilty by a 
jury of his peers. ' This was about the most infamous 
transaction that had taken place at an infamous period. 
Argyll was a prisoner in the castle of Edinburgh, and 



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THE ARGYLL FAMILY. 245 

knew that his death was resolved on. By a fortunate 
manoeuvre, he contrived to make his escape in the 
disguise of a page bearing up the train of his step- 
daughter, Lady Sophia Lindsay, sister to the Earl of 
Balcarras. The Scottish ministry were in a rage. He 
was immediately sentenced to death in absence, and 
his estate and honours forfeited. Having got clear of 
Edinburgh, the Earl was conducted by Mr Veitch, a 
clergyman, through unfrequented roads, and arrived 
safely in London. As soon as he had an opportunity, 
he made his escape to Friesland, at that time the 
refuge of numerous persons from England. 

In the secluded province to which the Earl had fled, 
his father had purchased a small estate, as a place of 
refuge for the family in the case of civil troubles ; and 
here the Earl remained for some time so quietly that 
he was lost sight of. From this retreat, however, 
according to Macaulay, ' he carried on a correspondence 
with his friends in Great Britain, was a party to the 
Whig conspiracy, and concerted with the chiefs of that 
conspiracy a plan for invading Scotland.' The demise 
of Charles II., and the accession of his brother, James 
II., in 1685, added vehemence to the conspiracy. In 
his detestation of the cruel tyranny prevailing in Scot- 
land, the Earl of Argyll resolved to risk an invasion 
of the western coast of Scotland, to be promptly followed 
by a descent on England. It was an ill-managed affair. 
Argyll with some followers landed in Orkney in April 
1685; several were apprehended, and the remainder, 
with Argyll at their head, got to the west coast of the 
Highlands. A manifesto was issued; but it was not 
responded to. Argyll made a bold push for Glasgow ; 
his forces melted away ; and the thought of prosecuting 



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246 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

the expedition, which was nothing short of a rebellion, 
was abandoned. A more heedless attempt to upset 
a government can hardly be conceived. The invaders 
rapidly dispersed. Argyll, disguised as a peasant, was 
taken prisoner in Renfrewshire, carried to Edinburgh, 
and forced to walk on foot bareheaded up the whole 
length of the Canongate and High Street to the castle, 
passing in front of that very balcony of Moray House, 
from which the Argyll family had contemptuously 
witnessed the passing of the Marquis of Montrose. 

By a perversion of legal proceedings, it was deter- 
mined to put Argyll to death on his former sentence, 
without a new trial. The morning of his execution was 
spent in religious exercises, and in writing short notes to 
friends. He had his dinner before he left the castle, at 
which he discoursed with some friends with cheerful and 
becoming gravity. After dinner, he retired, as was his 
custom, to his bed-chamber, where it is recorded he 
slept soundly for about a quarter of an hour. This 'last 
sleep of Argyll' has, as is well known, formed a 
favourite subject of pictorial delineation. After this 
short repose, he was brought to the high-council houses 
from which he dated a letter to his wife, and thence to 
the place of execution. In his last moments, he con- 
ducted himself with, the greatest fortitude and resigna- 
tion. Finally, he adjusted his neck on the block, and 
his head was severed from his body. Thus died 
Archibald, Earl of Argyll, on the 30th June 1685 ; of 
whom it has been said, he possessed the firmness and 
benevolence of a patriot, and the integrity and fidelity of 
a man of honour. Again, there was a forfeiture of titles 
and estates ; but all were restored to Archibald, son of 
the late Earl, for his services to King William; and he 



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; THE ARGYLL FAMILY. 247 

was further, in 1701, created Duke of Argyll, Marquis of 
Lome, &c 

In his son and successor, John, second Duke, we 
come to the great man of the family. The intolerant 
sectarian spirit of the family was modified, and we have 
at length a person of broad and genial views, valiant 
yet sagacious, who on broad grounds devoted himself 
to the public service. His talents were of the most 
versatile character. He was equally qualified for civil 
or military life. Handsome in person, brave and 
boriourable, he was qualified to fill any post from 
a judge to a general. In 1705, he was admitted 
an extraordinary Lord of Session, which he resigned 
to his brother Archibald, Earl of Hay, in 1708. 
Perceiving that the time had come when it would be 
for the interest of Scptland to be united on fair terms 
with England, Duke John exerted himself to promote 
the Union in the reign of Queen Anne, and had the 
$atisfaction of being successful in his endeavours. For 
his valuable services on this occasion, he was created 
a peer of England by the title of Earl of Greenwich. 
As a soldier, he greatly distinguished himself in the 
continental wars of the period. At the battle of 
Malplaquet, 1709, he performed extraordinary feats of 
valour, and escaped unhurt, although several musket- 
balls penetrated his clothes, hat, and periwig. Return- 
ing home, he helped to extinguish Mar's rebellion. In 
17 19, he was advanced to be Duke of Greenwich. 

Intense as were the Duke's feelings as a Scotsman, 
he in general affairs was above entertaining narrow views 
of nationality. His abilities as a statesman were as 
remarkable as his honesty of purpose. Sir Walter Scott, 
it will be recollected, refers to him in the 'Heart of 



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24S STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

Midlothian ' as acting a friendly part to Scotland, on the 
occasion of the Porteous Mob. This, the great Duke 
of Argyll and Greenwich, died in 1743, and was interred 
in the south transept of Westminster Abbey, where & 
handsome monument by Roubiliac - is erected to his 
memory. His Grace's high qualities were the theme 
of poetical panegyric by Pope : 

Argyll, the state's whole thunder born to wield, 
And shake alike the senate and the field. 

As the Duke left no male issue, his English titles 
became extinct His patrimonial estate and Scottish 
titles devolved on his brother, Archibald, as third Duke 
of Argyll. During his time an immense improvement 
took place in the judicial system of Scotland. This 
consisted in abolishing by an Act of parliament, in 
1747, the heritable sheriffships and other feudal juris- 
dictions that had been a fruitful source of tyranny 
and public disorder; and substituting legally educated 
sheriffs, as county magistrates, by appointment of the 
crown. To the proprietors of the old jurisdictions, 
compensation was awarded by government The losses 
of the Duke of Argyll were compensated by the sum 
of twenty-one thousand pounds — a cheap bargain for 
the public, because an end was put to those capricious 
beheadings, hangings, and imprisonments in dungeons, 
which are pictured in the visit of Dugald Dalgetty 
to Inveraray. About 1750, Duke Archibald built the 
modern castle of Inveraray, from designs by Adam. 
It occupies a beautiful situation on a lawn overlooking 
Loch Fyne. Three hundred thousand pounds are said 
to have been expended on its erection and the laying 
out of the grounds. By an unfortunate mischance, the 



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THE ARG YLL FAMIL K 249 

building was partially destroyed by fire, October 12, 
1877. It has since been tastefully restored. 

At the decease of Duke Archibald in 1761, without 
issue, his titles and estates passed to his cousin John, 
son of the Hon. John Campbell of Mamore, second 
son of the Earl who was beheaded in 1685. This Duke 
John was succeeded by his son John as fifth Duke, who 
during the lifetime of his father was created Baron 
Sundridge, in the peerage of England. Regarding the 
fifth Duke, we must pause a little in the genealogical 
narrative, for there is something amusing to tell of his 
marriage. 

At the middle of last century there arrived in London 
two young ladies, Irishwomen, who from their beauty 
caused a great sensation among the fashionable society 
of the day. They were known as the * two fair Gunn- 
ings/ daughters of John Gunning of Castle Coote, 
county of Roscommon. Whatever Castle Coote may 
have been, it did not enrich Mr Gunning, who had 
three daughters and no fortune to give them. The 
three Miss Gunnings, however, had that which money 
cannot buy. With a fine figure, they were of matchless 
beauty; while they derived some claim to aristocratic 
connections through their mother, who was a daughter 
of Viscount Bourke of Mayo. Of Catherine, the youngest 
of these ladies, all we know from the gossiping litera- 
ture of the period is that she was married to Richard 
Travis, a private gentleman in the south of Ireland. 
Interest therefore is concentrated on the other daughters, 
Maria and Elizabeth, who, spoken of as the two fair 
Gunnings, first made their appearance in public, by 
being presented at the vice-regal court of the Earl of 
Harrington, in Dublin. So poor were the family means 



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SSQ STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

that they had not the proper dresses for the occasion, 
but this deficiency was made good through the kindness 
of Thomas Sheridan, stage-manager of the Dublin theatre. 
They were arrayed in the stage dresses of Lady Mac- 
beth and Juliet, which suited them becomingly. Their 
mother, the Hon. Mrs Gunning, was their chaperon. 

The two fair Gunnings were brought to London in 
1751, and as we have said, produced an extraordinary 
commotion. Horace Walpole's Letters (Peter Cunning- 
ham's edition, volume three) abound in notices of these 
ladies at the time of their arrival in the metropolis and 
afterwards. Their beauty astonished everybody. Mobs 
followed them in the streets and the parks.- * For a time 
there was" a perfect furor concerning these young Irish- 
women, the elder of whom, Maria, was only eighteen years 
of age. It was known they had no fortune, but that 
mattered little ; nor did it signify that they were not noted 
for education or intelligence. Noblemen looking out 
for wives were deranged about them. Elizabeth, the 
younger, was the first to be married. Having captir 
vated the heart of James, sixth Duke of Hamilton, who 
was twenty-eight years of age, she was married to 
him in 1752, The marriage was a very hurried affair. 
It took place late at night, in Mayfair Chapel ; and for 
want of a ring of the usual kind, a ring of a bed-curtain 
was employed — irregularities of this kind being then 
tolerated by the law. Walpole writes : ' The Scotch are 
enraged ; the women mad that so much beauty has 
had its effect ; and what is most silly, my Lord 
Coventry declares that he will now marry the other. 
The Duchess was presented [at court] on Friday. The 
crowd was so great that even the noble mob in the 
drawing-room clambered into chairs and on tables to get 



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THE ARGYLL FAMILY. 251 

a look at her. There are mobs at their door to see 
them get into their chairs ; and people go early to get 
places at the theatres when it is known they will be 
there.' It is added, that when the Duke conducted his 
bride to Scotland, they stopped a night at a Yorkshire 
inn, where ' seven hundred people sat up all night in 
and about the house merely to see the Duchess get 
into her post-chaise the next morning.' 

By the Duke of Hamilton, the Duchess Elizabeth 
had three children — a daughter, Elizabeth, who was 
married to the twelfth Earl of Derby, and two sons, 
Who successively became Dukes of Hamilton. Having 
been left a widow by the death of the Duke, her 
husband, she married secondly John, fifth Duke 
of Argyll, in 1759, by whom she had three sons and 
two daughters. Two of the sons became successively 
t)ukes of Argyll; but of these and of her daughter, 
Lady Charlotte Campbell, we shall afterwards speak. 
In the meanwhile, let us keep to the Duchess Elizabeth. 
She was created a peeress of Great Britain in 1766, 
by the title of Baroness Hamilton of Hameldon in the 
county of Leicester, with remainder to her heirs-male. 
Her Grace died in 1793, and was buried at Kilmun. 
For a moment we turn to her sister Maria, the other 
fair Miss Gunning, about whom there may be some 
curiosity. 

Maria Gunning was married to the seventh Earl of 
Coventry on the 1st March 1752,- or only about 
three weeks after her sister Elizabeth had. been mar- 
ried to the Duke of Hamilton. The Coventries were 
descended from John Coventry, a successful and 
wealthy merchant in London who filled the office of 
Lord Mayor in 1425 ; his grandson being an emi- 



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252 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

nent lawyer who rose to distinction, and was created 
Baron Coventry in 1628. The fifth Lord was advanced 
to be Earl of Coventry in 1697. The marriage of the 
seventh Earl to Maria Gunning so soon after the 
marriage of Elizabeth caused immense sensation, and 
the Earl appears to have been congratulated and almost 
envied on account of his good-luck in having secured 
so great a beauty for his wife. Maria is stated to have 
been more lovely than her sister ; though her share of 
intelligence was by no means of a character to be 
proud of! 

Writing to Sir Horace Mann in October 1752, Horace 
Walpole says of Lady Coventry, who had just returned 
from Paris: 'Poor Lady Coventry [while in Paris] 
was under piteous disadvantages, for besides being silly, 
ignorant of the world and breeding, speaking no French, 
and suffered to wear neither red nor powder, she had 
that perpetual drawback on her beauty ; her lord, who 
is sillier in a wise way, as ignorant, ill-bred, and speak- 
ing very little French himself— just enough to shew how 
ill-bred he is. . . He is jealous, proud, and scrupulous ; 
at a dinner at Sir John Bland's, before sixteen persons, 
he coursed his wife round the table, on suspecting she 
had stolen on a little red [on her face], seized her, 
scrubbed it off by force with a napkin ; and then told 
her, that since she had deceived him and broken her 
promise, he would carry her back directly to England.' 
Fond of dress, * Lady Coventry shewed George Selwyn 
her clothes. They were blue, with spots of silver of the 
size of a shilling, -and a silver trimming, and cost— my 
Lord will know what She asked George how he liked 
them; he replied: "Why you will be change for a 
guinea." ' 



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THE ARGYLL FAMILY. 253 

As an instance of her childish remarks, George II. 
one day asked her if she was not sorry there were to be 
no more masquerades. She replied ' that she was tired 
of them — indeed that she was surfeited with most 
London sights ; there was but one left that she wanted 
to see, and that was a coronation.' The old king took 
the remark good-humouredly, and it formed the subject 
of amusing conversation in the palace. Lady Coventry 
was not destined to see a coronation; for George II. 
outlived her about three weeks, and George III. was 
not crowned till a year afterwards. With a constitution 
weakened by consumption, the Countess accelerated 
her death by an inordinate use of cosmetics, in order 
to give brilliance to her fading complexion, but which 
only injured her health. Horace Walpole speaks of 
her gradually drooping appearance, and that she could 
not have long to live. Writing November 1, 1760, 
he says: 'Poor Lady Coventry concluded her short 
race with the same attention to her looks. She lay 
constantly on a couch with a pocket-glass in her hand, 
and when that told her how great the change was, she 
took to her bed the last fortnight, and had no light 
in her room but the lamp of the tea-kettle, and at last 
took things in through the curtains of the bed, without 
allowing them to be withdrawn.' She died 30th Sep- 
tember 1760, when not yet twenty-eight years of age. 
The Countess had a son, who became seventh Earl 
of Coventry. 

From this digression we return to the Argyll family, 
whose personal appearance is allowed to have been 
softened and improved by a union with one of the 
fair Gunnings. Elizabeth, Duchess of Argyll, as has 
been said, had three sons and two daughters. The 



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254 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

first son died in infancy. The second, George-William, 
became sixth Duke of Argyll, and inherited the Barony 
of Hamilton from his mother. Dying without issue in 
1839, he was succeeded by his brother, John-Douglas, 
as seventh Duke of Argyll. In His Grace's two sisters 
was revived the beauty of their mother. One of these 
ladies, Lady Charlotte Campbell, who in 1796 married 
first, Colonel Campbell, son of Walter Campbell of 
Shawfield, created almost as great a sensation by her 
beauty as any of the fair Gunnings. But besides her 
Ladyship's charming appearance and manners, she 
became noted for her literary accomplishments. Her 
husband dying in 1809, her Ladyship, in 18 19, married 
second, the Rev. Edward Bury ; whereupon she became 
known as Lady Charlotte Bury. She died in 186 1, 
having survived her second husband twenty-nine years. 
Latterly, she wrote a number of popular novels — ' Con- 
duct is Fate/ 'Flirtation,' &c, which were published 
anonymously. 

The seventh Duke, by a second marriage, had two 
sons and a daughter, Lady Emma-Augusta. At the 
death of His Grace in 1847, his second and surviving 
son, George-Douglas, succeeded as eighth Duke of 
Argyll, the present peer. Lady Emma-Augusta Camp- 
bell was married in 1870 to the Bight Hon. Sir John 
M'Neill. The present peer, as is well known, is dis- 
tinguished by varied statesman-like qualities, and for 
having occupied several high official positions. He 
is also noted for his literary and scientific acquire- 
ments, which have been specially shewn in his work, 
* The Reign of Law.' In 1844, he married Lady Eliza- 
beth-Georgiana, eldest daughter of George-Granville, 
second Duke of Sutherland, and who, to the grief of the 



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THE ARGYLL FAMILY. 255 

family, died suddenly, 1878. His Grace has a family of 
five sons and seven daughters. His eldest son, John- 
Douglas-Sutherland, Marquis of Lome, lately appointed 
Governor-General of Canada, was married in 187 1 to 
Her Royal Highness the Princess Louise. The Duke 
of Argyll has set a noble example in causing several 
of his younger sons to follow commercial pursuits. 

How great are the changes brought about by time! 
Lbchawe, which it was thought could not be reached 
by any hostile clan, now lies on one of the routes 
through the Highlands, and is traversed by a steam- 
boat for the accommodation of tourists. Those wh6 
have not visited this remote lake, in the midst of 
wild Highland scenery, are recommended to do so. 



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THE BARONESS BURDETT-COUTTS. 



HPHE Burdetts are an old English family, tracing their 
-*- origin to one of the soldiers of William the 
Conqueror, who first settled and had lands in Warwick- 
shire. Thomas Burdett, who was created a baronet in 
1618, married the daughter and heiress of William 
Frauncys of Foremark, in the county of Derby, which 
has since been one of the chief residences of the family. 
Passing over several generations, we come to Sir Francis 
Burdett, the most popular English politician of his time, 
born in 1770, and who succeeded to the baronetcy in 
1797. Entering parliament, he made himself con- 
spicuous by his opposition to government and the war, 
and his advocacy of parliamentary reform, Catholic 
emancipation, and other liberal measures. One of the 
most effective political speakers of the excited period at 
the beginning of the present century, he for many years 
was member of parliament for Westminster, and was the 
most popular man of his day. 

In 1793, Sir Francis married Sophia, youngest 
daughter of Thomas Coutts, the wealthy London 
banker ; and besides his son and successor, had several 
daughters, the youngest of whom was Angela, to whom 



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THE BARONESS BURDETT- COUTTS. 257 

and her maternal ancestors we wish to draw special 
attention. As regards her father, Sir Francis, the 
eminent politician, he died in 1844. 

The Coutts family are of Scottish origin. They 
spring fromXbutts of Auchintoul, a sagacious northern 
laird, one of whose sons did not disdain to seek a liveli- 
hood by going into business in the small and prettily 
situated town of Montrose. There, he in time became 
provost, an office of local distinction which was held 
also by his son and grandson, in the seventeenth cen- 
tury. One of these provosts, Alexander Coutts, had a 
large family of sons and daughters. Our interest is 
centred in Patrick, his fourth son, who, emulous of 
pushing out into the world, quitted Montrose, went to 
Edinburgh, and there occupied the position of a general 
merchant, importing and exporting goods, as early as 
1696. Dying in 1704, he left the sum of ^2500 
sterling — a great bequest in those days — to be divided 
among his children, two sons and a daughter, who were 
all young, and sent to Montrose to be reared by an 
uncle. The two boys, John and James, possessed the 
salient disposition of their father. While still young, 
they went off to seek their fortune in trade; John 
returning to Edinburgh, and James proceeding to 
London. As James did not live to continue the family, 
we take up the history of John. Arriving in Edinburgh 
about 17 18, when nineteen years of age, he served an 
apprenticeship in a mercantile concern, and lived with 
painstaking economy until he was able to go into busi- 
ness on his own account Edinburgh was at that time ' 
a comparatively small place, and it had lately lost its 
political importance by the extinction of the Scottish 
parliament ; but it was still a resort for persons of dis- 

Q 



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r 



258 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES 

traction, and there were in it men, the sons of landed- 
gentry, who were laying the foundation of families of 
note by assiduous attention to trade. In his efforts at 
establishing himself, John Courts shewed as much eager- 
ness as had been successfully demonstrated by the 
Hamiltons, the Hopes, the Trotters, the Ramsays, and 
other candidates for fortune. He began his mercantile 
undertakings in 1723, and from that year may be dated 
the effective rise and progress of the Coutts family. 

The business initiated by John Coutts was a com>; 
bination of general dealings, and the negotiation of 
foreign bills of exchange. He imported and sold corn, 
either on his own account or as a commission-agent* 
But, in proportion as he advanced in business and 
acquired spare capital, as well as the confidence of 
persons who deposited money at interest, he appears 
to have laid himself out chiefly as a negotiator of bills,. 

species of traffic which had not yet been appropriated 
by banks, and demanded much knowledge and shrewd- 
ness. Whether from family connections or otherwise, 
he became acquainted with people of good social. 
standing, through whom he widened his base of opera- 
tions. For some time he had for partner Thomas 
iMiburtoxv of Newmains (who, through a daughter, 
was great-grandfather of Sir Walter Scott) ; next, we 
find him assuming as a partner Archibald Tr otte r, son^ 
of Trojtter of Castleshiel; then by another change of 
firm, he was associated with his cousin, Robert Ramsay, 
brother of Sir Alexander Ramsay of Balmain. As 
further marking the esteem in which he was held by 
the aristocratic circle of Edinburgh, he formed an 
intimacy with Sir John Stuart of Allanbank, whose 
sister he fell in love with and married It is pleasant 



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THE BARONESS BURDETT-COUTTS. 2& 

to note these circumstances, as incontestably shewing 
how much more frequently relationships were estab- 
lished among the higher and middle classes early in 

the e^hteenth century than they were in later times, 
when much greater reserve was introduced between 
different ranks of society. 

Coutts^s marriage with Miss Stuart of Allanbank was 
particularly fortunate; for, besides being an excellent 
housewife with lady-like manners, she proved a good ' 

mother^ The pair had four sons— Patrick, John, 
James, and Thomas. Their dwelling, as was then the I x ^ 
case universally, was a floor in a common-stair, on / vj 
which (with two at each landing) there were not fewer , 
than sixteen families — perhaps more; for the building 
was in the Parliament Close, in which were the tallest 
tenements in the city. The stair was specially known 
as 'the President's stairs/ from having been honoured 
as a residence by the President of the Court of Session, 
besides whom here dwelt several persons of eminence, 
including the Earl of Wemyss. One now wonders how 
the families of such personages were accommodated; 
for each dwelling consisted of only four or five small [1(1 
low-roofed apartments, and the stowing away of children 
and servants, must have been a matter of ingenious 7 
consideration. As regards servants, however, few weref 
kept In the top story of the President's, as in most 
of the common-stairs, there lived a cady with his wife 
and family. Cadies were an order of street porters ^ 
and messengers, who were useful in going errands, 
waiting at dinners, and undertaking a variety of other 
jobs, while their wives helped as domestics at a pinch ; 
so that, by calling in such reinforcements from the 
garret floors, families of distinction who lived in these 



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vu 



260 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

old-fashioned common-stairs, managed to tide over 
difficulties that might otherwise have been a little 
perplexing. 
Here, then, on the second floor of this august and 

_ populous tenement, dwelt John Coutts, with his wife 

and four sons ; and not only so, but here he carried on 
his banking business — of course, much in the cramped 
way that we still see banking concerns conducted at 

^ Frankfort-on-the-Maine, and other continental cities, 
where, in some by-street, you have to clamber up long 

^—stairs to cash your letters of credit. There is something 
to add to the accommodating qualities of that second 
floor on the President's stairs. In 1730, John Coutts 
entered the Town-council of Edinburgh 'as first mer- 
chant councillor,' and being thus fairly in the way of 
attaining civic dignity, he rose to be Lord Provost 
in 1742. Shortly before this event, he had the good 
fortune to succeed to about twenty thousand pounds 
^J>y the death of his brother James, who had been 
remarkably successful as a merchant in London. It 
was a lucky windfall, for it enabled John, as Lord 
Provost, to shew off in a style of hospitality to town- 
councillors, bailies, and great men generally, which 
had never before been exhibited — no, not even when 
Lord Provosts of Edinburgh figured ex officio as members 
of the Scottish Privy Council. How the thing was 
managed within the narrow dimensions of the ' second 

^ door in the stair/ with all the assistance that could 
be given by town-officers and cadies, it is difficult to 
conjecture. No doubt, Mrs Coutts had her domestic 
arrangements considerably disturbed — beds taken down 
and stowed away, youngsters sent out of the house 
for a night, and so on ; but in these times the wives 



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THE BARONESS BURDETT-COUTTS. 261 

of Edinburgh notabilities were accustomed, on festive 

occasions, to see their household turned inside out, 

and it was all taken good-humouredly as a matter of 
course. Any way, John Coutts did the honours of the 
chair splendidly, not only in his own house, but at his 
own expense — two circumstances deemed remarkable; 
for until this time the Lord Provosts used to give their , — 
entertainments in taverns at the cost of the city. His 
liberality, therefore, marked an era in civic annals. 

Usually, when a man is at perfect ease in his cir- 
cumstances, he encourages the fine arts, and gets hisAl-// 
portrait painted. John Coutts, when Lord Provost, I * 
followed this wholesome practice. He had his portrait 
painted by Allan Ramsay, an eminent limner, son of 
Allan Ramsay, the Scottish poet From this likeness, 
which is fortunately preserved in the London mansion 
of the Baroness Burdett-Coutts, we see that this pro- "****"* 
genitor of the family possessed handsome prominent 
features, with a good intellectual development The 
costume in which he is depicted is that of the era 
of George II. — a flowing periwig over the shoulders, 
cravat, and light-blue single-breasted coat — a close 
resemblance in point of size and style to the classic 
Kit-cats of Sir Godfrey Kneller. 

Re-elected after being a year in office, John Coutts 
was Lord Provost from 1742 till 1744. On his retire- 
ment, his health was considerably impaired, and he 
never got over the ill effects of his profuse entertain- 
ments. His health continuing to fail, he sought rein- 
vigoration by a visit to Italy. The effort was unavail- 
ing. He died in the neighbourhood of Naples, in 1750; s __ 
leaving at his decease the reputation of an upright 
citizen and useful magistrate. Before setting out on 



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262 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES 

his journey, he executed a new contract of copartnery, 
by which his eldest son, Patrick, was taken into the 
business, under the firm of Courts, Son, and Trotter. 
One learns with some surprise that the stock of the 
company amounted to no more than four thousand 
pounds— a small sum to be the basis of two extensive 
banking establishments I John, the second son, who 
had been bred to mercantile pursuits in Holland, acted 
as assistant in the business, along with his two younger 
brothers; but none of them agreed with Mr Trotter, 
and that gentleman found reason to retire. His place 
as partner was taken by John Stephen, a Leith mer- 
chant, who had married Provost Coutts's sister, and 
had a son, Thomas, who was already making himself 
useful. 

Now ensues a kind of revolution in that primitive 
banking concern. What with the four young Couttses 
and two Stephens, there were more hands than were at 
all needed; and it was judiciously resolved to make 
a division of forces, by promoting an allied establish- 
ment in London. John and James remained with the 
elder Stephen in Edinburgh, under the firm of Coutts / 
Brothers and Co.; while Patrick and Thomas Coutts, »\ 
along with th^ir cousin, young Stephen, were detached 
to London. There they commenced business; the 
first place occupied by them being in Jeffrey Square, 
St Mary Axe. Leaving this branch concern for a 
moment, let us see what became of the old establish- 
ment in the Parliament Close. 

It is pretty obvious that success in any joint mer- 
cantile undertaking often depends on the clear and 
vigorous intellect and good business habits of one 
partner; the others interested being too frequently 



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THE BARONESS BURDETT-COUTTS. 263 

little better than a sham or encumbrance. John Coutts 
appears to have been a partner of a choice description. 
Possessing agreeable manners, and with a knowledge of 
the world derived from his foreign training, he had that 
species of acute intelligence and tact which fitted him 
for his onerous profession. By his good management, 
the business throve — taking rank as the foremost of the 
private banks in the city. In 1754, when just starting 
in its renovated form, it received as apprentice a youth 
destined to make a figure in public affairs. This was 
Sir William Forbes, Bart., who, a year previously, had 
arrived in Edinburgh with his widowed mother, and 
now resided, as was befitting for a lady in reduced 
circumstances, in a small house, consisting of a single 
floor, in Forrester's Wynd. In adopting the mercantile 
profession, Sir William was guided by an earnest desire 
to recover, by a course of assiduous industry, the 
decayed fortunes of his family — and he lived to do so ; 
ultimately accumulating wealth, and purchasing back 
the estate of Pitsligo, which had been forfeited in 1746. 
At the expiration of his apprenticeship, he acted for 
two years as a clerk to Messrs Coutts, and, from his 
excellent abilities, he was, in 1761, admitted a partner 
with a small share in the business. It was a timely 
strengthening of the firm. James Coutts had, in 1754, 
gone on a visit to his brothers in London, and there, 
having married Miss Polly Peagrim, a niece of George 
Campbell, an eminent banker in the Strand, he was 
received into partnership under the firm of Campbell 
and Coutts; at the same time withdrawing from the 
connection with his brothers in London and Edinburgh. 
A few months after Sir William Forbes had been 
installed as a partner, John Coutts was seized with a 



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264 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES 

mortal disease, and being ordered by his physicians to 
drink the waters at Bath, he died there in 1761. We 
need not mention the changes that now ensued in the 
Edinburgh firm, further than that, in 1774, Mr James 
Hunter, the friend and fellow-apprentice of Sir William 
Forbes, was taken into partnership. By the successive 
deaths of four brothers of his wife, Mr Hunter suc- 
ceeded to an estate in Galloway of considerable value, 
on which occasion he assumed the surname of Blair in 
addition to his own. In 1781 he was elected member 
of parliament for the city ; and a few years later, on 
account of his spirited exertions for the improvement of 
the city, while Lord Provost, he was created a baronet 
The firm of Sir William Forbes, Hunter-Blair, and Co. 
lasted until our own times. At first, the company occu- 
pied the floor immediately below that which had been 
inhabited by Lord Provost Coutts. We regret to add 
that the tall tenement, which derived some interest from 
having been the cradle of the Coutts family, was unfor- 
tunately destroyed by fire during the disastrous con- 
flagrations in November 1824. How the business was 
at length merged in the Union Bank of Scotland, is 
well known. 

A word now regarding the London branch of the 
bank. It did not long continue on its original footing. 
Some changes took place. Mr Thomas Stephen died, — - 
and Patrick Coutts, who was a man of literary tastes, 
and fond of travelling, left the business to be conducted * 
by his brother Thomas, a circumstance which led to a 
fresh change. At this time (middle of the eighteenth » , 
century) there were only two banking-houses on the \\ \ 
west side of Temple Bar. One was the establish- ' 
ment of Mr Andrew Drummond, a son of Sir John — 



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THE BARONESS BURDETT-COUTTS. 265 

Drummond of Machany, whose elder brother succeeded 
as fourth Viscount Strathallan, and was killed fighting 
in the cause of the Stuarts at Culloden. Drummond's 
Bank, as it was called, was patronised chiefly by the 
Tory families of the English aristocracy. The other 

bank was that of George Campbell, who had taken -I 

James Coutts as" a partner, and was patronised by the ^ 
Duke of Argyll and the Whig interest Campbell (who 
had been originally a goldsmith) died in 1761, where- 
upon James Coutts assumed as partner his brother 
Thomas, who now withdrew from the two houses of 
Edinburgh and London. The new firm was James and 
Thomas Coutts. Such, with its extensive aristocratic 
connection, may be deemed the beginning of the great 
banking house of Coutts and Company. James Coutts ^~"~* 
died in 1778. Patrick, who had for years retired from 
active life, died within the present century. Thomas 
was the survivor of all the brothers, and under his >■ — 
auspices the house in the Strand rose to its present 
distinction. One of his early and active partners was 
a man of some note, Mr Robert fferri es, eldest son of ^^ 
Henries of Halldykes, in Dumfriesshire, and who had -^ 
been bred to business in HoTland — then a common 
thing with young men — and was afterwards a merchant 
in Barcelona. 

Hemes was a man of genius. He struck out the novel I # 
idea of issuing what are now called 'circular notes/ by[f ! vo 
which travellers, on depositing money with a banker, 
may procure orders to the amount, payable according 1 
to convenience, at a great number of banking establish- V - ! 
ments abroad — each circular note being, in fact, a bill 
on London. Appreciated as these notes now are, it 
seems strange that the invention of Mr Herries was 



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266 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES 

looked so doubtfully upon, that he was led to separate 
himself from his previous connections, and, with the 
aid of some friends, to establish a bank on a new 
footing in St James's Street, 1772. Latterly, r as is 
well known, Coutts and Co. have taken a peculiarly 
prominent part in the issue of circular notes; the 
success of which has fully verified the anticipations of 
their projector, Mr Hemes. 

Outliving all his brothers, Thomas Coutts became 
^jfthe first banker in London — great from his wealth 
^^^^ and munificence, mingling in the highest circles, and 
I never forgetting Edinburgh, which he visited ceca- 
ls sionally; notably on one occasion when, along with 
Sir Walter Scott, his friend (and kinsman, through the 
Allanbank family), he was complimented with . 'the 

e freedom of the city.' He died at a very advanced age 
in 182 1, when by the male line the Couttses were 
extinct 

By his first marriage Thomas Coutts nad three 
daughters — the ' Three Graces/ as they were called. 

Susan, the eldest, became Countess of Guildford ; 

^^ Frances, the second, became Marchioness of Bute ; and 

Sophia, the youngest, as already said, was married to 

__ ——Sir Francis Burdett, Bart, the noted politician in the 

^ early years of the present century. Angela, the youngest 

daughter of Sir Francis, having succeeded to the great 

property of her grandfather, Mr Coutts, under the will 

of that gentleman's widow, the Duchess of St Albans, 

/ assumed by sign-manual the additional surname of 

I , Coutts, and, in 187 1, was created Baroness Burdett- 

\ ^ Coutts. On this lady's public-spirited undertakings, 

extensive yet delicate acts of beneficence, and efforts I, 

at home and abroad to assuage the sufferings of , 



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THE BARONESS BURDETT-COUTTS. 267 

animals, it would be quite unnecessary to expatiate. 
Latterly, she has been signalised by her munificent 
sympathy for the unhappy sufferers from the war in 
Turkey. 

The town mansion of the Baroness is in Stratton t 
Street, Piccadilly, with a spacious frontage overlooking / 
the Green Park. Here, Mrs Coutts, afterwards the / 
Duchess of St Albans, gave her splendid entertainments. 
The house possesses some fine pictures; notably one 
of Sir Francis Burdett, a full length ; one, as already 
mentioned, of John Coutts, by _Allan Ramsay ; and a[ 
very charming picture of the ' Three Graces,' one of ^ 
whom was the mother of the Baroness Burdett-Coutts. 




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THE WALPOLES. 



y 



TPHE Walpoles trace their descent from an old family 
A possessing estates in the county of Norfolk. As 
the Walpoles of Hough ton, they are hearcTof in the 
reign of Edward I., _ andlor several centuries afterwards. 
Honoured as country gentlemen of a genial character, 
they did not come prominently to the front until the 
reign of William and Mary, when Robert Walpole of 
Houghton, a resolute adherent of the Whig policy, 
became member of parliament for Castle-Riding in 
Norfolk. 

Though proprietors of Houghton and other lands, 
the Walpole family were not rich. The rent-roll of the 
property did not exceed two thousand pounds a year, 
which, although things were cheap in those days, did 
not leave Mr Walpole much to spare, after maintaining 
the dignity of his position and supplying the wants 
of nineteen children. It was a large family; but at 
that period, so great was the mortality from small-pox, 
that unless a man began with a numerous family, the 
probability was that he would be left with no children 
at all. As it happened, thirteen of Mr Walpole's 



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THE WALPOLES. 269 

children were cut off in youth, leaving him six as the 
surviving number. The frequency of second marriages, 
as is observed in the records of the Peerage, was greatly 
owing to that fearful scourge, the small-pox, of which, 
thanks to the discovery of Jenner, we now seldom 
hear anything except among the more ignorant in the 
community. 

In the original number of Mr Walpole's sons, Robert, 
born in 1676, was the third. Educated at Eton and 
Cambridge, he was led to understand that as a younger 
son he would require to depend on himself. He 
accordingly exerted himself manfully so as to be ready 
for anything that might cast up. He became a good 
classical scholar, a circumstance which afterwards 
proved of the greatest advantage in the career that 
fell to his lot Before his education was finished, his 
two elder brothers died, whereupon, being now heir to 
the property, he was brought home to be qualified as 
a Norfolk squire. In July 1700, he was married to 
Catherine, the beautiful and accomplished daughter of 
John Shorter of Bybrook, in Kent. In November 
following, his father died, and he entered into posses- 
sion of Houghton. Fortunately, by means of his wife's 
dowry, he was able to pay his mother's jointure and the 
provision for the younger children, so that he had the 
property unencumbered. 

Young Walpole did not feel inclined to spend his 
life as a squire. With the education he had received, 
and a certain gift of oratory, he would go into parlia- 
ment, and work his way forward. About this there 
was no difficulty, as the family had several boroughs at 
disposal. In 1702, he was elected member of parlia- 
ment, and won the esteem of the Whig leaders. He 



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no STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

had the honour of helping to pass the Act of Settle- 
ment, by which, on the death of Queen. Anne, the 
Stuarts were excluded from the throne, and the Pro- 
testant succession secured. On the accession of George 
L, he was made a privy-councillor, had various other 
high offices conferred on him, and was installed 
a Knight of the Garter. Overcoming his poetical 
opponents by indomitable energy, and employing his 
vast abilities, he became prime-minister to George L 
in 1721. It was a somewhat difficult task, for the 
king could speak no English, and the only communica- 
tion that could be carried on between him and his 
minister was in Latin. Unless from the fact of Sir Robert 
being a good classical scholar, he must have been 
unable to act as His Majesty's adviser. At the death 
of George L, he continued to act as prime-minister to 
George II., who having learned to speak in broken. 
English, the intercourse with royalty was less restrained- 
Sir Robert remained as prime-minister until 1742, 
when by the exigences of party, he was forced to resign, 
greatly against the will of the king, whose government 
he had carried through many trying difficulties. For 
his eminent services, he was raised to the peerage as 
Baron of Houghton, Viscount Walpole, and Earl of 
Orford, and provided with a pension of four thour 
sand pounds a year. Going to take leave of George 
II., he was received with a sensibility at variance 
with the usual .character of that monarch. The king 
fell upon his neck, and bursting into tears, embraced 
him in a passion of sorrow and affection, and earnestly 
desired to see him frequently at court 

As preparatory to his retirement from public life, 
Lord Orford had rebuilt Houghton Hall in a style of 



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THE WALPOLES. 271 

great splendour. He adorned its walls with a collec- 
tion of the finest pictures, and laid out the grounds 
in the best taste; he settled down here, drawing his 
friends about him, and entertaining them with a degree 
of princely hospitality. Pope refers as follows to the 
retired minister's social pleasures ; 

Seen him I have, but in his happier hour 
Of social pleasure, ill exchanged for power ! 
Seen him, encumbered with the venal tribe, 
Smile without art, and win without a bribe. 

Lord Orford, better remembered as the great Sir 
Robert Walpole, enjoyed his retirement from office 
only three years. He died in 1745, in the sixty-ninth 
year of his age. His character, according to political 
bias, has been variously estimated. Love of power 
appears to have been his ruling motive of action. In 
private life he was amiable and good-tempered. He 
had strong common-sense, with clearness of political 
vision, and next to his own interest he had at heart 
the interest of the country. He is alleged to have 
sarcastically said, 'that every man has his price ;' but 
if he bribed by money, or by giving places and titles, 
to secure adherents, it was what every minister did in 
the generally corrupt period in which he lived. He 
at least did not retire from office with inordinate wealth. 
By the costly rebuilding of Houghton Hall, and his 
expenditure on a lavish hospitality in his three years 
of retirement, he died in debt At his decease he left 
three sons, Robert, Edward, Horace, and two daughters, 
Catherine and Mary. Robert, the eldest son of Lord 
Orford, succeeded as second Earl. In 1723, he had 
been created Baron Walpole of Walpole, county of 



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272 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

Norfolk, with remainder, in default of the issue male 
of himself and his father, to the male descendants of 
his grandfather. Dying in 1 751, he was succeeded by 
his only son, George, as third Earl, to whom we shall 
afterwards refer. 

Of Edward, the second son of the first Earl of Orford, 
some interesting notices are presented in the * Letters 
of Horace Walpole,' and in the * Memoirs of Horace 
Walpole and his Contemporaries, , by Eliot Warburton 
— two works abounding in so many amusing particulars 
concerning celebrities in the eighteenth century as to 
deserve a place in every public library. 

With a good figure and agreeable manners, the Hon. 
Edward Walpole, when travelling in Italy, became 
known among ladies as 'the handsome Englishman.' 
As a younger son, with little beyond his wits to depend 
on, he looked out for a seat in parliament, and employ- 
ment in some public office. Considering he was a 
son of Sir Robert Walpole, there was little doubt of 
his success. While meditating on his prospects, he 
took a lodging in a house in Pali-Mall, in the ground- 
floor of which was carried on the business- of a tailor 
named Rennie, famed for making boys' dresses. To 
reach the higher floors, it was necessary to pass through 
the tailor's shop, where sat Mary Clement, a female 
apprentice, remarkable for her assiduity and good looks. 
Mary attracted the attention of Edward Walpole, and 
without any evil intent, he occasionally spoke to her 
and gave her small presents. These small attentions 
from a man of such handsome appearance and rank, 
exerted an immense influence over the girl, and she 
could think of nobody else. Her parents as well as 
her mistress remonstrated with her on the impropriety 



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THE WALPOLES. 273 

of her conduct, but in vain. She was in a state of 
infatuation, as if the 'glamour' of ancient superstition 
had been thrown over her. One day, on being 
lectured on the subject, she rushed to the apartments 
of 'the handsome Englishman,' and telling her tale, 
declared she would never leave him. Mr Walpole, 
with his superior intelligence, cannot be justified. 
He should either have dismissed Mary Clement or 
married her. He did neither. The two took up 
house together — perhaps under an irregular engagement 
of mutual adherence, but without the sanction of 
legalised wedlock. The idea is that Mr Walpole only 
waited for his father's death to effect a proper marriage 
with this young and attached being. Excuses of this 
kind, however, are valueless. He committed the 
egregious wrong of inflicting a stigma on the reputation 
of Mary Clement and her offspring. 

The pair had four children, three girls and a boy, and 
shortly after the birth of the last-mentioned, the kind- 
hearted and faithful Mary died. Edward Walpole was 
inconsolable. His tardy justice, now unavailing, as in 
all such cases, was punished with life-long regret 
To redeem his error as far as possible, he brought up 
the children with the greatest care, and gave them an 
education to fit them for the best society. Unfortu- 
nately, he could not remove the stain on their birth, 
which mattered little as regards ordinary intercourse ; 
but as concerns the girls, proved an insurmountable 
bar to that important desideratum, being presented at 
court 

It was some consolation to Sir Edward Walpole— 
who procured lucrative appointments under the crown, 
and was installed a Knight of the Bath in 1753 — 

R 



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274 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

that his three daughters, Laura, Maria, and Charlotte* 
possessed a degree of beauty rivalling that of the fair 
Gunnings, besides having the advantage of a superior 
education and much natural intelligence. Under the 
auspices of their uncle, the Hon. Horace Walpole of 
Strawberry Hill, whom we shall by-and-by come to, 
these lovely young creatures were introduced to a 
brilliant society; their appearance everywhere causing 
no little sensation among members of aristocratic 
families in the metropolis. At first, looking to who 
was their mother, there was a little shyness in 
making their acquaintance, but this feeling soon 
gave way under profound sentiments of admira- 
tion. It was a tribute not only to beauty but to 
goodness. 

After some hesitation, and only with a fear that some 
younger man might carry off the prize, the Hon. and 
Rev. Frederick Keppel, brother to the Earl of Albe- 
marle, asked Laura, the eldest of the beauties, in 
marriage ; and the father having no objections, he was 
accepted. Horace Walpole says in one of his letters : 
.' I have forgot to tell you of a wedding in our family ; 
my brother's eldest daughter is to be married to-morrow 
to Lord Albemarle's third brother, a canon of Windsor. 
We are very happy with the match. The bride is very 
agreeable, sensible, and good ; not so handsome as her 
sister. * • It is the second, Maria, who is beauty itself. 
Her face, bloom, eyes, hair, teeth, and person are per- 
fect She has a great deal of wit and vivacity, with 
perfect modesty.' Laura received no title by her 
marriage; but she had the satisfaction of seeing her 
husband promoted to be Bishop of Exeter, and as his 
wife there was no longer any obstacle to her being 



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THE WALPOLES. 2-75 

presented at <x>urt — an honour still denied to her two 
sisters. 

The marriage of Laura was a good beginning. She 
was kindly received by the sisters of the Earl of Albe- 
marle, and the alliance materially helped the prospect 
of an advantageous marriage for Maria and Charlotte. 
The lovely Maria Walpole was not long in receiving 
an offer not to be refused. She was sought by James, 
second Earl of Waldegrave, a member of the privy- 
council, and Knight of the Garter. The Earl was forty- 
four years of age, which was a trifle too old ; but as he 
was estimable in character and manners, and as Earls 
are not to be had every day, Maria accepted the offer, 
and in 1759 she became Countess of Waldegrave. It 
is pleasing to know that Maria made an excellent wife. 
She had three daughters, to whom we shall immediately 
refer. Sad to say, her husband the Earl was smitten 
by small-pox. During his illness, and when dreadfully 
disfigured, the Countess, from a high sense of duty, and 
careless of her own life, attended him with the most 
affectionate solicitude. Neither her attentions nor the 
best medical skill could save him. Lord Waldegrave 
died in April 1763. 

A few days after the Earl's decease, Horace Walpole 
visited his bereaved niece, and he thus writes regarding 
her : ' I found Lady Waldegrave at my brother's ; she 
weeps without ceasing, and talks of his virtues and 
goodness to her in a manner that distracts one. . < Her 
fall is great, from that adoration and attention that he 
paid her, from that splendour of fortune, so much of 
which dies with him, and from that consideration which 
rebounded to her from the great deference which the 
world had for his character. Visions, perhaps; yet who 



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276 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

could expect that they would pass away even before 
that fleeting thing — her beauty.' To divert her thoughts, 
Horace brought his niece to Strawberry HilL Here 
she was cheered up a little ; and in dutifully attending 
to her three daughters, one of them an infant, her spirits 
gradually recovered. 

,^lore than.-* a year elapsed before the Countess- 
Dowager of .W-aldegrave ventured into society, and only 
then because "society was anxious to have her. On 
reappearing, she was thought to be more beautiful than 
ever. The highest in the land were desirous to seek 
her as a wife. Among the train of her rejected suitors 
was the Duke of Portland. In about three years from 
entering on her widowhood, she relented in her obsti- 
nacy. She accepted the offer of His Royal Highness, 
William-Henry, Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh, 
brother of George III. ; and by this second alliance, in 
1766, she was at once incorporated with the royal 
family — a very strange turn in the wheel of fortune for 
the daughter of the tailor's apprentice, Mary Clement ; 
but quite deserved as regards character and conduct 
By this second marriage, the Duchess had a son and 
daughter. The son, William-Frederick, became second 
Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh, was a field-marshal 
in the army, and died without issue in 1834. The 
daughter, Sophia-Matilda, was appointed ranger of 
Greenwich Park, and died as lately as 1844. The 
three daughters of the Duchess by her first husband 
had all a brilliant career. Elizabeth-Laura, the eldest, 
was married to her cousin, George, fourth Earl of 
Waldegrave; the second, Charlotte-Maria, was married 
to George, Duke of Grafton; and the third, Anna- 
Horatia, was married to Lord Hugh Seymour. 



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THE WALPOLES. 



277 



Charlotte, the youngest of Sir Edward Walpole's 
daughters, had also her share of good fortune. She was 
married to Lionel, Lord Huntingtower, eldest son of 
the third Earl of Dysart. As the Earl happened to be 
an odd and somewhat miserly person, there were certain 
drawbacks to the alliance. Charlotte very sensibly 
made the best of things, put up with the old man's 
humours ; and at his death, she became Countess of 
Dysart, in which position she lived happily for a number 
of years, and died without issue in 1788. 

There is one of Sir Edward Walpole's children still 
to be accounted for. This was his son Edward, who 
entered the army, and greatly distinguished himself by his 
gallantry as an officer on foreign service. He attained 
the rank of Colonel. Horace Walpole gives an anecdote 
of his acuteness. When in command of a small part)' 
in the expedition to the siege of St Maloes, they over- 
took an old man, to whom they offered quarter, bidding 
him lay down his arms. He replied, they were English 
— the enemies of his king and country ; that he hated 
them, and would rather be killed. Walpole hesitated a 
moment, and then said : ' I see you are a brave fellow, 
and don't fear death ; but very likely you fear a beating 
— if you don't lay down your arms this instant, my men 
shall drub you as long as they can stand over you.' 
The fellow directly threw down his arms in a passion. 
The Duke of Marlborough spoke of this as the only 
clever action in their whole exploit 

Sir Edward Walpole, the father of these children, 
never married. Till the last he consecrated himself 
to the memory of the ill-fated Mary Clement, who from 
her affection had sacrificed everything for him. From 
an anecdote that has been recorded of Sir Edward, 



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278 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

he appears to have been a man of generous impulses. 
When Roubiliac, the eminent French sculptor, settled in 
London about 1743, he had few friends to encourage 
him, and sometimes he almost despaired of success. One 
evening, on walking out to take the air, he accidentally 
found a pocket-book containing a considerable number of 
bank-notes, and some papers apparently of consequence 
to the unknown owner. Immediately he advertised what 
he had found and gave his address. The owner of the 
pocket-book proved to be Sir Edward Walpole, who had 
lost it in returning from Vauxhall Gardens* On calling 
to reclaim his property, he was so much pleased with 
Roubiliac's honesty, his gentlemanly manners, and his 
skill as an artist, that he forthwith exerted himself to 
make the sculptor known. He introduced him to per- 
sons of influence ; and from that time Roubiliac's fortune 
was made. He was employed to execute the monu- 
ments of John, second Duke of Argyll, and of Handel, 
in Westminster Abbey ; the statue of Shakspeare in the 
British Museum; and what we esteem to have been his 
greatest work of art — we might almost say the finest 
thing of the kind in Great Britain — the sitting figure in 
marble of Duncan Forbes of Culloden, President of the 
Court of Session, in the Parliament House, Edinburgh. 
On looking at that marvellous figure, so true to nature, 
yet so tasteful, and significant of the highest order of 
genius, let the spectator think how Roubiliac arose to 
fame by accidentally finding the pocket-book of Sir 
Edward Walpole. 

As has been stated, Robert, Lord Walpole, succeeded 
as second Earl of Orford, and at his death left an only 
son, George, who became third Earl. George was 
unfortunate in finding that his estate was overwhelmed 



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THE WALPOLES. m 

with the mortgages and other obligations of his father 
and grandfather. Instead of endeavouring to economise 
and pay ofif debts, he added to his difficulties by patronis- 
ing the turf, and making the most ridiculous bets. In 
1756, Horace Walpole writes of this hopeful nephew: 
' My Lord Rockingham and my nephew, Lord Orford, 
have made a match of five hundred pounds, between 
five turkeys and five geese to run from Norwich to 
London.' These costly freaks, and the embarrassments 
into which he sunk, caused much distress in the family. 
The beautifully laid-out grounds at Houghton became a 
scene of neglect and desolation ; the mansion was in 
a state of decay, and thousands of pounds would have 
been required to put it in order. The only articles in 
good preservation were the pictures. To avert the 
impending ruin of the possessor, these were sold to the 
Empress of Russia for forty thousand pounds. We may 
safely aver that had the collection been offered for sale 
in the present day it would have brought six times the 
amount. 

In the midst of distractions chiefly incurred by his 
own folly, Earl George died in 1791, unmarried. His 
title and estates would naturally have devolved on his 
uncle, Sir Edward, whose beautiful daughters we have 
been speaking of; but Sir Edward was no more, and 
the honours and property of the family fell to the lot 
of the third son of the first Earl of Orford, namely, 
the Hon. Horace Walpole of Strawberry Hill, the wit, 
the antiquary, the man of letters, who had kept fashion- 
able society in a state of pleasurable excitement for 
more than half a century. He was now fourth Earl 
of Orford. The unexpected honours came rather late 
in the day. Horace was born in 171 7, and now in 



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2&J STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

1 791, he was an old bachelor, in the seventy-fifth year 
of his age — still facetious and able to pop about, but 
with the spring of life gone. 

Eliot Warburton has said so much, and said it so 
well, about Horace Walpole and his contemporaries, 
that no one need try to come after him. Not to render 
our story incomplete, we shall offer a few particulars. 
Like his father, the great .prime-minister, Horace was 
educated at Eton and Cambridge, and to judge from 
his writings, he was an accomplished classical scholar. 
After finishing his education, he travelled abroad for 
some years, principally in Italy, where he revelled in 
museums, churches, picture-galleries, and ruins, and 
acquired those tastes for which he afterwards became 
well known. He returned to England in 1741, and 
had a seat in parliament; but he had no taste for 
politics, and never took any part in public life. His 
father procured for him the places of usher of the receipt 
of the Exchequer, Comptroller of the Great Roll, and 
Keeper of the foreign receipts. These places were 
little better than sinecures, and besides affording means, 
left time for learned and artistic leisure. Compara- 
tively at his ease, Horace thought only of spending 
existence agreeably. Looking about for a spot on 
which he could settle down and carry out his fancies, 
he selected a patch of ground near Twickenham, on 
the banks of the Thames, and therefore within an easy 
distance of the metropolis. On the ground, which he 
purchased in 1747, there stood a plain cottage. This 
he pulled down, and built his famous Gothic villa, 
styled by him Strawberry Hill. Its erection and decora- 
tion may almost be said to have formed the principal 
occupation of his long life. 



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THE WALPOLES. 281 

Besides cramming his mansion with pictures, statues, 
and antique curiosities, he added to it a small private 
printing establishment, in which, with hired assistance, 
he printed, partly for private distribution, his literary 
works large and small, from a casual jeu c? esprit to 
a volume. Books executed at the Strawberry Hill 
press were eagerly sought after, and now are highly 
prized when they happen to appear at public sales. 
In 1758 he published his 'Catalogue of Royal and 
Noble Authors/ This was followed by his popular 
romance 'The Castle of Otranto/ 'The Mysterious 
Mother/ 'Anecdotes of Painting,' and the 'Historic 
Doubts on the Life and Reign of Richard HI./ a 
work more paradoxical than of any historical value. 

The permanent fame of Horace Walpole rests on his 
Letters, which were collected and published after his 
decease. Often frivolous, unduly sarcastic, and gossip- 
ing, they are deeply interesting, from the light thrown 
on the manners and public characters at the middle 
and in the second half of the eighteenth century. The 
toil in writing those letters must have been immense, 
and was attended with no other gratification than that 
of communicating news and humorous remarks to 
acquaintances. Such letters could not have been pro- 
duced but for the writer's extensive acquaintanceship 
in fashionable circles. Members of the royal family, 
dukes, earls, and ladies of every degree in the peerage, 
came to visit him and see his wonderful villa. Some 
spent a whole day with him, others only a few hours. 
The flow of pleasantries was continuous. In June 
1759, he writes: ' Strawberry Hill is grown a perfect 
Paphos; it is the land of beauties. On Wednesday, 
the Duchesses of Hamilton and Richmond, and Lady 



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282- STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

Ailesbury, dined there. . . There never was so pretty a 
sight as to see them all three sitting in the shell' The 
shell was a rustic bower, in the form of a concave 
bivalve, prettily fitted up with seats to command the 
admiration of the beauties who honoured it with their 
graceful figures. On the occasion of such visits, 
Horace had an opportunity of exhibiting the refined 
gallantry of which he was a proficient. 

In this kind of life, he was not a little indebted 
to ladies of somewhat advanced years, who in their 
more youthful days had flourished at court in the reigns 
of George I. and George II., and who were acceptable 
visitors at Strawberry Hill The most notable of these 
female acquaintances appears to have been Lady 
Suffolk, a great sufferer from gout, but notwithstanding 
her infirmities, she was lively and communicative. She 
possessed amusing reminiscences of Queen Anne, and 
of Sophia, Electress of Hanover, who fully expected 
to be Queen of England, and would have been so had 
she lived three months longer, her much-coveted 
inheritance passing at her decease to her son George. 
At the death of Lady Suffolk in 1767, Horace Walpole 
was deprived of a most agreeable friend, who had made 
many hours pass cheerfully. 

One of his amusements consisted in shewing his 
printing-office to those who had never seen any typo- 
graphic establishment When he expected female 
visitors of this kind, he was ready to astonish them by 
printing a few lines eulogising their wit and beauty. 
In one of his letters he says : s T'other day my Lady 
Rochfort, Lady Townshend, Miss Bland, and the Knight 
of the Garter, dined here, and were carried into the 
printing-office to see the man print There were some 



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THE WALPOLES. 283 

lines ready placed, which he took ofE I gave them 
to Lady Townshend ; here they are — 

THE PRESS SPEAKS. 

From me wits and poets their glory obtain; 
Without me their wit and their verses were vain. 
Stop, Townshend, and let me but print what you say ; 
You the fame I on others bestow, will repay.' 

The pleasures derived from the private press were 
not without alloy. Horace had trouble with the 
persons he employed, and greatly more trouble with 
the booksellers. "With his limited means of printing 
a book, he could execute oiily small editions, which 
were soon bought up, and it was long before he could 
produce a fresh supply. Here is what he says: 'The 
London booksellers play me all manner of tricks; 
if I do not allow them ridiculous profits, they will do 
nothing to promote the sale ; and when I do, they buy 
up the impression, and sell it at an advanced price 
before my face. . . In truth, the plague I have had 
in every shape with my own printers, engravers, the 
booksellers, and besides my own trouble, have almost 
discouraged me from what I took up at first as an 
amusement, but which has produced very little of it' 

One of Horace's favourite correspondents was Gray, 
author of the i Elegy in a Country Churchyard/ with 
whom he had been acquainted as a student at 
Cambridge; another was Sir Horace Mann, English 
minister at Florence, to whom many of his letters are 
addressed. A more special friend was George Augustus 
Selwyn, a man of good family, and a sparkling wit about 
town. Selwyn had some very curious and antagonistic 
idiosyncrasies. He was passionately fond of children, 



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284 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES 

and as passionately fond of haunting sepulchres to see 
the festering remains of the dead, and of witnessing 
executions. His mind, as we are told, was sometimes 
so absorbed by the ceremonies of capital punishment, 
that on going to a dentist he chose to give the signal 
for pulling out the tooth by dropping his handkerchief. 
When Damiens was condemned to be tortured and 
broken on the wheel at Paris for attempting to stab 
Louis XV., 1757, Selwyn went off to France to enjoy the 
spectacle. According to the anecdote, in attempting 
to get too near the scaffold, Selwyn was at first repulsed 
by one of the executioners ; but having informed the 
person that he had made the journey from London 
solely with a view to be present at the punishment and 
death of Damiens, the man immediately caused the 
people to make way, exclaiming at the same time to 
give place to Monsieur, who was an amateur from 
England. Worn out with gout and dropsy, . Selwyn 
died in 1791, and is lamented by Walpole as his oldest 
acquaintance. 

On several occasions, Horace Walpole visited Paris, 
and became acquainted with members of its brilliant 
society, as well as English residents ; among these was 
David Hume, with whom he afterwards kept up a corre- 
spondence. The utterly depraved condition of French 
society did not escape Walpole's shrewd observation, 
and thirty years before the event, he perceived the 
brewing of a storm that would overwhelm society. In 
his old days, when confined by gout and other ailments 
to Strawberry Hill, he experienced the usual feelings of 
men who outlive their early friends. His home, too, 
was rendered uncomfortable by the shoals of people who 
latterly came to see it To modify the annoyance, he 



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THE WALPOLES. 285 

issued tickets of admission ; still, with this and other 
devices, he felt that the vast trouble he had taken to 
render his house a treasure of art, had brought on 
himself the character of a showman, when he was 
least able to receive his guests with urbanity. 

The death of his nephew, George, which made him 
Earl of Orford, was a fresh torture, for there were endless 
business letters to be read and written, statements of 
leases and mortgages to be considered, for all which the 
new dignity was no compensation. He became a fretful 
valetudinarian, and removing to London, he died on 
the 2d March 1797. The fate of his dearly cherished 
Strawberry Hill was very sorrowful. All its treasures 
of art were disposed of by auction, the sale lasting more 
than three weeks. The house, which had been very 
much an affair of lath and plaster, partly disappeared. 

By the decease of Horace, fourth Earl of Orford, the 
earldom, according to the limitation, was extinct Still 
there were honours in the family. Horatio, brother of 
Sir Robert Walpole, a diplomatist of the first class, had 
in 1756 been created Baron Walpole of Wolterton, 
which dignity was inherited by his son, Horatio, as 
second Baron. This Horatio was alive when his first- 
cousin, Horace, died in 1797 ; and to him passed the 
Barony of Walpole of Walpole, that had been granted 
to Robert, second Earl of Orford. In his favour, the 
earldom was revived by a new patent in 1806, when 
he was created Earl of Orford; and his accumulated 
honours are now enjoyed by his descendant In the 
male line, there is no one to claim descent from 
the great Sir Robert Walpole. It is otherwise in the 
female branch. Katherine, the elder daughter of the 
first Earl of Orford, died unmarried. Mary, the second 



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286 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

daughter, married George, third Earl of Cholmondeley, 
and had three sons who left issue. Her eldest son, 
George, Viscount Malpas, died in 1764, leaving a son, 
George-James, who at the death of his grandfather in 
1770, succeeded as fourth Earl of Cholmondeley. His 
descendant, the present Marquis of Cholmondeley, may 
therefore claim to be the lineal representative of the 
great Prime-Minister. 



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THE BEDFORD FAMILY. 



HTHE noble family of Russell, of whom the Duke of 
•*• Bedford is the head, originally belonged to 
Dorsetshire, on the southern coast of England. One of 
them, Sir Ralph Russell, knight, was Constable of Corfe 
Castle as early as 1221 ; which may be called a respect- 
able antiquity. Passing over a few generations, we 
come to John Russell, who, at the beginning of the 
sixteenth century, resided a few miles from Bridport, 
where he and his descendants might have remained in 
the rank of private gentlemen, but for a remarkable 
chance circumstance; though it is evident that the 
chance would have been unavailing had there not been 
mental ability and personal accomplishments to take 
advantage of it — 

There is a tide in the affairs of men, 
Which taken at the flood leads on to fortune. 

Quite true ; but what signifies the highest flood-tide in 
human affairs, if people have not mental culture and 
tact to make the best of the opportunity? How beau- 
tifully this is illustrated in the story of the Russells ! 
, The incident is thus recorded : 

In 1506, being the twenty-first year of Henry VIL, 



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288 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

Philip, Archduke of Austria, only son of the Emperor 
Maximilian I., and husband of Joanna, daughter of 
Ferdinand and Isabella, king and queen of Castile and 
Aragon, being on his passage from Flanders to Spain, 
encountered the fury of a sudden storm in the English 
Channel, and took refuge in Weymouth. There he landed, 
and was hospitably received by Sir Thomas Trenchard, 
a gentleman of rank in the neighbourhood. Apprising 
the court of the circumstance, and while waiting for 
instructions, Sir Thomas invited his relation, Mr Russell, 
then recently returned from his travels, to visit the 
Archduke. The invitation being accepted, the Prince 
was fascinated by Mr Russell's intelligence and com- 
panionable qualities, and requested that he should 
accompany him to Windsor, whither the king had 
invited him to repair. On the journey, the Archduke 
became still more pleased with his 'learned discourse 
and generous deportment ; ' for as he was able to con- 
verse in French and German, there was no difficulty on 
account of language. So pleased was the Archduke, 
that he strongly recommended Mr Russell to the king. 
As a consequence, he was taken immediately into royal 
favour, and appointed one of the gentlemen of the 
privy-chamber. Subsequently, he became a favourite 
of Henry Vllfc., and a companion of that monarch in 
his French wars. Now, on the high-road to fortune, he 
was appointed to several high and confidential offices, 
including that of High Admiral of England, Lord 
Warden of the Stannaries, and Lord Privy Seal. Finally, 
in 1539, he was created Baron Russell of Cheneys, in the 
county of Bucks, which estate he afterwards acquired 
by marriage. 
To make the good-luck of the first Lord Russell 



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THE BEDFORD FAMILY. 2S9 

something beyond precedent, he lived at the outbreak 
of the Reformation in England, when monastic institu- 
tions were dissolved, and church lands, in the hands 
of Henry VIII., were given to lay adherents of the 
crown with what may be called reckless munificence. 
Lord Russell came in for an uncommonly large share 
in the general distribution. In 1540, when the great 
monasteries were dissolved, His Lordship obtained a 
grant to himself and his wife, and their heirs, of the 
site of the Abbey of Tavistock, and of extensive posses- 
sions belonging thereto. There was much more to 
come. After the accession of Edward VI., Lord Russell 
had a grant of the , monastery of Woburn, and was 
created Earl of Bedford, 1550. In 1552, a patent was 
granted to John, Earl of Bedford, of Covent Garden, 
lying in the metropolitan parish of St Martin-in-the 
Fields, with seven acres called Long Acre, of the 
yearly value of six pounds six shillings and eightpence ; 
part of the possessions of the late Duke of Somerset. 
Covent Garden, or more properly Convent Garden, 
was originally the garden of the Abbey at Westminster. 
Reckoned as of very small value at the time, the lands 
in and about Covent Garden, and stretching north- 
wards, now covered with streets and squares, realise 
a princely ground-rental. 

Francis, fourth Earl of Bedford, who lived in the 
reign of Charles I., was noted for his ingenious scheme 
of draining an extensive tract of flat land on the east 
coast of England, included in Lincolnshire and other 
counties, with an area of four hundred thousand acres. 
Liable to be covered by the sea, and always in the con- 
dition of a marsh, the land was of little value, unless it 
was drained. This work was undertaken by the Earl 

s 



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290 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

of Bedford, and carried out by him after incurring 
much opposition, and encountering many serious difficul- 
ties. He expended a hundred thousand pounds on the 
work, on condition of receiving ninety-five thousand 
acres of the reclaimed land. His son William, fifth 
Earl, incurred a fresh outlay of three hundred thou- 
sand pounds to render the work complete; and ever 
since it has been known as the Bedford Level. With 
subsequent improvements, the land is a beautiful and 
fertile plain; being so much added to the available 
surface of England 

Francis died in 1641, and was succeeded by his 
eldest son, William, fifth Earl of Bedford, who had 
seven sons and three daughters, of whom the eldest 
surviving son was William, Lord Russell, the distin- 
guished patriot in the reign of Charles II. Born in 
1639, an ^ educated at Cambridge, Lord William 
in a marked degree inherited the elevated ideas of 
civil and religious liberty, for which the family has 
always been remarkable. In 1669, he was married 
to Lady Rachel Wriothesley, second daughter and 
eventual heiress of Thomas, Earl of Southampton, Lord 
High Treasurer, and widow of Francis, Lord Vaughan, 
the eldest son of Lord Carberry. As Lady Rachel 
Russell, she was destined to derive lustre from her high 
sense of duty as a wife and mother in the most trying 
circumstances. 

To understand the interesting and pathetic episode 
now to ensue in the story of the Russells, we have 
to call to mind the deplorable misconduct of the three 
last sovereigns of the House of Stuart It may be 
admitted that by having to contend with the gloomy 
puritanism that had sprung up, Charles I. lived at an 



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THE BEDFORD FAMILY. 2 gt 

unhappy period ; but he took the worst possible way 
of dealing with his subjects* His self-willedness, his 
falsehoods, his insincerity, and his illegally despotic 
measures, provoked civil war, which led to the over- 
throw of the monarchy, and the setting up of the Com- 
monwealth under CromwelL Next came the reign of 
Charles II., who by his profligacy, baseness in becom- 
ing a stipendiary of Louis XIV., and his general mis- 
government through court favourites, created the utmost 
dissatisfaction among his subjects. Towards the con- 
clusion of his reign, there sprung up plots to get rid 
of him as well as of his brother, James, Duke of York. 
Of course^ all such plots, however ineffectual, were 
treasonous, and punishable by law. In some instances, 
the plots were the mere inventions of a set of perjured 
wretches, who, for the sake of pay, did not mind falsely 
incriminating members of the party whose politics were 
adverse to the unconstitutional measures of the court 

Although perhaps aware of the danger he incurred, 
Lord William Russell unfortunately visited the house 
of a person named Shepherd, in which he heard 
some remarks as to the possibility of seizing the 
guards, but took no part in the conversation. Imme- 
diately, through the machinations of Shepherd and 
others, the rumour of a plot was carried to the 
court Glad to have a man of mark to fasten on, 
the king and his brother caused Lord Russell to be 
seized and taken to the Tower. After being examined 
by the Privy Council, and sent back to the Tower, 
Lord Russell, says Bishop Burnet, 'looked upon him- 
self as a dead man, and turned his thoughts wholly 
to another world. He read much in the Scriptures, 
particularly in the Psalms, and read Baxter's dying 



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292 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

thoughts. He was serene and calm as if he had been 
in no danger at all.' In answer to every interrogation, 
he denied all knowledge of any consultation tending to 
an insurrection. It was all in vain. On the 13th July 
1683, he was placed at the bar of the Old Bailey, to 
take his trial for high-treason. As seems to be common 
in England, he had no indictment previously served 
upon him, and he pleaded not guilty before he knew 
what was the crime charged against him. Being pro- 
vided with pen, ink, and paper, he asked if he 
might have somebody to write for him. He was told 
that he might have any of his servants ; but on mention- 
ing that his wife was in court and ready to assist him, 
the Lord Chief-Justice said : ' If my lady please to give 
herself the trouble.' Thereupon Lady Russell meekly 
sat down beside her husband, to aid him to the best of 
her ability. A wretch named Colonel Rumsey came 
forward as a witness for the crown, stating matters with 
no foundation in fact; and by his evidence, also that 
of Shepherd, and others equally disreputable, the jury 
brought in a verdict of guilty of high-treason. Next 
day he received sentence of death. 

The assiduous labours of Lady Russell during the 
trial are spoken of as something remarkable; nor did 
she cease the most energetic efforts to move the king 
to mercy ; without avail. When Lord Russell spoke of 
his wife, the tears would sometimes come into his eyes. 
Once, he said he wished she would give over her 
attempts for his preservation ; but when he considered 
that it would be some mitigation of her sorrow after- 
wards, to reflect that she had left nothing undone, he 
acquiesced. He expressed great joy in her magna- 
nimity of spirit, and said the parting with her was the 



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THE BEDFORD FAMILY. 293. 

severest pang he had to suffer. In the few days he had 
to live, he was attended by his friend Dr Burnet, and by 
Tillotson, Dean of Canterbury. On the night before 
his execution, after parting with his children, he asked 
Lady Russell to stay and sup with him, so that they 
might take their last earthly food together. At ten 
o'clock she left him. He kissed her four or five times ; 
and she so governed her sorrow as not to add by her 
distress to the pain of separation. Thus, in composed 
silence, they parted. Next morning, accompanied by 
Tillotson and Burnet, he was driven to the place 
appointed for his execution in Lincoln's Inn Fields. 
Burnet describes his last moments. After praying by 
himself, he took off part of his dress, and laid his head 
on the block without the least change of countenance. 
His head was cut off at two strokes. Such was the end 
of this great and good man, 20th July 1683. 

The judicial murder of Lord William Russell, and 
subsequently of Algernon Sidney, as well as some other 
patriots, served only to intensify the feelings of hatred 
entertained towards Charles II., and James, his brother 
and successor. When beset with difficulties, and ruin 
closing upon him, James, it is said, applied for advice 
and assistance to the Duke of Bedford, who sorrow- 
fully replied that once he had a son who might have 
helped the king in his extremity. We almost doubt 
the truth of this tradition, for the Bedford family were 
in politics distinctly opposed to the king, who had 
been instrumental in bringing Lord William Russell to 
the block. The illegal, and it would almost seem mad 
proceedings of James II. lasted until the Revolution, 
when loaded with the execrations of England and 
Scotland, this the last of the Stuarts ignominiously fled 



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•294 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

from the country. In the present day, it is scarcely 
possible to picture the coarse tyrannies, and the distress 
and confusion they created throughout the whole of 
James's brief and inglorious reign of three years, 1685 
to 1688. Little need be the wonder that after wasting 
their opportunities, the Stuarts were finally thrown 
off in disgust, and unpitied, except by a few zealous 
adherents, sunk to merited extinction. 

Shortly after their accession to the throne, William 
and Mary, in acknowledgment of the consummate 
virtue, sanctity of manners, and greatness of mind of 
Lord Russell, created his bereaved father Marquis of 
Tavistock and Duke of Bedford; while by an act of 
parliament the attainder of Lord Russell was reversed. 
On the death of the Duke in 1700, his honours were 
inherited by Wriothesley, his grandson, only son of 
Lord Russell the ancestor of the present Bedford 
family. The life of Rachel Lady Russell, after the 
death of her husband, was occupied and imbittered 
by that grief of which she has left so affecting a 
memorial in her Letters. This remarkable woman 
drew out life to the age of eighty-seven, dying as 
lately as 1723, and is universally quoted as having 
been a pattern to her sex. 

Wriothesley, second Duke, was a man of no mark. 
He occupied himself chiefly in horticultural and agri- 
cultural pursuits. At his death in 17 11, he was suc- 
ceeded by his eldest surviving son, Wriothesley, as 
third Duke, who is described as being a reckless 
devotee to gambling and other disreputable pursuits. 
He died without issue in 1732, and was succeeded by 
his brother John, as fourth Duke. John was a person 
of superior ability. He took part in the political move- 



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THE BEDFORD FAMILY. 295 

ments at the middle of the eighteenth century, and was 
noted for his integrity of character and amiable disposi- 
tion. Vast sums were expended by him in laying 
out the grounds and plantations at Woburn Abbey, 
which was now almost rebuilt on a scale of great 
extent, and furnished with a collection of pictures, 
scarcely to be paralleled in England. In executing 
these improvements, his greatest merit, perhaps, con- 
sisted in the skilful manner in which he arranged the 
magnificent park and pleasure-grounds, extending twelve 
miles in circumference. In these operations, the Duke 
seems to have had some difficulty with his gardener, 
who prided himself on his knowledge in planting and 
thinning-out trees. One day, the gardener objecting to 
what was proposed by the Duke, was told by him to do 
as he was bidden, and that his reputation would be 
taken care of. To be as good as his word, the Duke set 
up a board bearing this inscription : ' This plantation has 
been thinned by John, Duke of Bedford, contrary to the 
advice and opinion of his gardener.' 

Duke John had a son, Francis, Marquis of Tavistock, 
who married Lady Elizabeth Keppel, daughter of 
William, second Earl of Albemarle, and had a sad fate. 
He was killed by a fall from his horse in 1767, an event 
that caused his widow to die of grief. He left a family 
of sons and daughters. The eldest son, Francis, 
succeeded as fifth Duke, on the death of his grandfather 
in 177 1. This Duke Francis was one of the most 
popular English noblemen in the latter part of the 
eighteenth century, when the country was agitated by 
the convulsion in France. As a friend of Charles- 
James Fox, and President of the Whig Club, his speeches 
carried great weight in the House of Lords. Dying 



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296 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

unmarried in 1802, his titles and estates passed to his 
brother John, as sixth Duke. 

John, sixth Duke of Bedford, was more noted as 
an ardent agriculturist, and skilful improver of his 
estates, than as a politician. In London, he did much 
to increase the value of the family property. One of 
his works was the building of the present Covent 
Garden Market at an outlay of forty thousand pounds. 
He is understood to have spent a like sum on the 
church at Woburn. Dying in 1839, he was succeeded 
by his eldest son, Francis, as seventh Duke, who, like 
his father, preferred a country life to politics, and by 
his excellent management added largely to the heritable 
family revenue, which under him is said to have reached 
the sum ot three hundred thousand pounds per annum. 
He died in 186 1, and was succeeded by his only son, 
William, the eighth Duke of Bedford. 

John, sixth Duke of Bedford, had two younger sons. 
One of these, George-William, a major-general in the 
army, was the father of Francis-Charles, the present 
Duke, who succeeded his cousin in 1872, and also of 
Lord Arthur Russell and the diplomatist, Lord Odo 
Russell, both of whom have been authorised to take 
precedence as sons of a Duke. The other brother 
was John, the eminent statesman, who was created 
Earl Russell, Viscount Amberley, in 1861, but is 
best remembered under his original title of Lord John 
Russell, for as such he long figured as a member of 
the House of Commons. We can run over only a few 
of the leading events in the career of this remarkable 
person. 

Lord John Russell, the youngest son of the sixth 
Duke of Bedford, was born 18th August 1792. After 



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THE BEDFORD FAMILY. 297 

being at one or two schools, he accompanied Lord 
and Lady Holland on a journey through Spain. In 
his ' Recollections and Suggestions,' he says, on return- 
ing from this excursion, ' I asked my father to allow 
me to go to the University of Cambridge. But he 
told me that in his opinion there was nothing to be 
learned at English universities, and procured for me 
admission to the house of Professor Playfair in Edin- 
burgh. There I had my studies directed and my 
character developed by one of the best and the noblest, 
the most upright, the most benevolent, and the most 
liberal of all philosophers.' Again he travelled abroad, 
and being returned member for Tavistock, he entered 
parliament in 18 13, while yet not twenty-one years 
of age. Soon, he made himself known as an advocate 
of parliamentary reform, but without improving his 
reputation, except among a few followers, for the 
country was unprepared for the measures which he 
suggested. For a number of years he devoted a con- 
siderable part of his time to literature, one of his books 
being the 'Life of Lord William Russell,' a by no 
means brilliant performance, but which has gone through 
several editions. His other productions, including 
' Don Carlos,' a drama, are now little heard of. 

Lord John was apparently deficient in the saliency of 
fancy requisite for success in literary enterprise. His 
role was that of a politician set on working out certain 
ideas in the business of legislation. There were abuses 
to correct, and he put himself in the front rank as their 
corrector. Very much through his tenacity of purpose, 
the Test and Corporation Acts were repealed in 1828, 
and the Catholic Relief Bill was carried in 1829. His 
next great work, along with Earl Grey, was the Reform 



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298 STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. 

Bill, passed after lengthened agitation, 1832. The 
Corporation Reform Bill followed. In these times, he 
occupied various positions in the ministry, and was for 
several years Premier. For a time, he acted as Colonial 
Minister under Lord Palmerston, and more lately as 
Foreign Minister. In 1861, as above stated, he was 
raised to the peerage, after which, in 1865, he was again 
for a short time Prime Minister. His political career 
may then be said to have terminated. In his day, and 
in his own particular line of abuse-corrector, he did 
meritorious service ; but it was generally admitted that 
in the comprehensiveness of mind which has a regard 
for all interests and feelings, there was a decided short- 
come. At the sole interview we ever had with him, he 
manifested a singular degree of indifference and ungeni- 
ality, as if everything not belonging to the grande 
politique were beneath his notice; and this cold and 
arid manner seems to have been a marked feature in 
his character. 

Residing retiredly at Pembroke Lodge, Surrey, Earl 
Russell outlived his more eminent contemporaries. Per- 
sonally, he was almost unknown to the younger gene- 
ration. Yet, \zs a public 'man who had done great 
things in his day, he was ever spoken of with respect 
by all parties. Universal sympathy was felt for him 
on the decease of his son, Lord Amberley. After 
languishing for years in a poor state of health, Earl 
Russell died, to the regret of the nation, on the 28th 
May 1878, when he had nearly attained to the age of 
eighty-six. He is succeeded in the Earldom by his 
youthful grandson, 



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CONCLUDING SKETCHES. 



HTHE English Peerage, of which some eminent 
•*" examples have been given, comprehends many 
old families, claiming descent from persons who, for 
military and other important services to the state in 
early times, were raised to the rank of nobility, in con- 
nection with some territorial distinction. The ordinary 
routine was first to be created Barons with the title of 
Lord, and afterwards to be advanced, as the case 
might be, to the rank of Viscount, Earl, Marquis, 
and Duke — a great number not getting beyond Earl. 
The territorial tide being changed at each advance, has 
had a certain confusing effect in history ; for the same 
person has had different titles in the course of his life. 

Among the old venerated families in the English 
Peerage, we may instance the Percies, Dukes of 
Northumberland; the Stanleys, Earls of Derby; 
the Grosvenors, Dukes of Westminster ; the Caven- 
dishes, Dukes of Devonshire; the Talbots, Earls 
of Shrewsbury; the Manners, Dukes of Rutland; 
the Grenvilles, Dukes of Buckingham and Chandos ; 
the Berkeleys, Earls of Berkeley; the Seymours, 
Dukes of Somerset; and the Howards, Dukes of 
Norfolk, who are the premier peers of England after 



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300 OLD FAMILIES. 

the Princes of the blood-royaL These names, with the 
Cecils and Russels, are identified with the history of 
England for centuries. They are as national as the 
Plantagenets and Tudors. The Ashley-Coopers, Earls 
of Shaftesbury, to whom the country owes her 
second great Charter of freedom, the Habeas Corpus 
Act, date from the seventeenth century. 

Among the very old families above notified, we 
might single out for their historical importance the 
Stanleys, Earls of Derby. This family traces its pedi- 
gree to Adam de Aldithley, who attended William of 
Normandy to England, and had conferred on him large 
possessions of land. By these gifts he, of course, dis- 
possessed some unfortunate Anglo-Saxons, but this inva- 
sion of their heritable rights was partly compensated by 
the marriage of two of his grandsons with the heiresses 
of Saxon families. Adam de Aldithley, son of his eldest 
son Lyulph, married the daughter of Henry Stanley of 
Stoneley, in Stafford, and was the ancestor of the Barons 
Audley ; William, son of the second son Adam, married 
Joan, daughter of Thomas Stanley of Stafford. In 
compliment to the antiquity of his wife's family, William 
de Aldithley assumed her name of Stanley, acquired by 
exchange the mansion of Stoneley from his cousin Adam, 
and became the ancestor of the Stanleys. Towards 
the end of the fourteenth century, Sir John Stanley, 
the head of the House, married the daughter and heir 
of Sir Thomas Latham, of Latham and Knowsley, in 
Lancashire. In the early part of the fifteenth century, 
his territorial importance was enhanced by receiving 
a grant of the Isle of Man, consequent on the forfeiture 
of Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland. Shordy 
afterwards, he was appointed Lord Lieutenant of 



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EARLS OF DERBY. 301 

Ireland. His grandson, Sir Thomas Stanley, was 
raised to the peerage as Baron Stanley, by Henry VI. 
In the person of Thomas, second Lord Stanley, the 
family was advanced in dignity. His lordship con- 
tributed to the victory of Bosworth, and on the field 
of batde placed the crown of Richard on the head of 
Richmond, who, as Henry VII., created him Earl of 
Derby, 1485. Sir Edward Stanley, second son of the 
Earl, is renowned in history for his gallantry. He 
commanded the rear of the English army at Flodden, 
9th September 15 13; and is the 'Stanley* alluded to 
by Sir Walter Scott in his poem of Marmion — 

Let Stanley charge with spur of fire — 
With Chester charge, and Lancashire, 
Full upon Scotland's central host, 
Or victory and England 's lost. 

For his valour at this time, Henry VIII. created him 
Lord Monteagle— a title now in abeyance. 

James, seventh Earl of Derby, married a high-born 
French lady, Charlotte de Tre'mouille, who, like her 
husband, was earnestly devoted to the cause of royalty. 
She rendered herself famous for her heroic defence of 
Latham House, against a strong body of the Parlia- 
mentary forces, 1644. After the battle of Worcester, 
the Earl fell into the hands of the enemy, and was 
beheaded at Bolton, 15th October 1651. These events 
led to the capture and forfeiture of the Isle of Man ; 
but the island was restored to the Stanleys, and it 
remained in their possession until the death of James, 
tenth Earl of Derby, without issue, when it devolved, 
through a daughter of the seventh Earl, on the Duke 
of Athole. The feudal sovereignty of Man was bought 
up by the British government in 1765. At the death 



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3Q2 EARLS OF DERB Y. 

of the tenth Earl of Derby, the earldom reverted to the 
descendant of a brother of the second EarL Among 
the later notabilities of the family was Edward, twelfth 
Earl, who in 1780 instituted the so-called Derby stakes 
for a horse-race to be run for annually at Epsom. 
Knowsley Hall, the seat of the present Earl, is interest- 
ing for its collection of rare books and family pictures. 

Comparatively few persons have been raised to the 
peerage by means of successful commerce or finance. 
Recent instances occur in the two Barings, Lords 
Ashburton and Northbrook. Several families owe 
their elevation to the peerage to the special affec- 
tion or favour of the sovereign ; but such cases are now 
not so common as formerly. The more conspicuous 
instances of the kind are Fitz-Roy, Duke of Grafton ; 
Beauclerk, Duke of St Albans ; and Lennox, Duke 
of Richmond; all which were peerage creations of 
Charles II. In this category might be classed the 
families of Dutch extraction ennobled as followers 
of William III., among whom we may refer to 
Keppel, Earl of Albemarle, and Bentinck, Duke 
of Portland. 

Among those who were raised to the peerage on 
account of military or naval exploits since the middle 
of the eighteenth century, we may indicate Robert 
Clive, who, for his gallant achievements in India, more 
particularly for his great victory at the battle of Plassey, 
which may be said to have given India to the English, 
was created Baron Clive m 1762. On his premature 
death, his son, in acknowledgment of his father's im- 
portant services to the crown, was advanced to be Earl 
of Powis, which dignity is now in the family. The 
more recent peerage creations of this kind have been 



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DUKE OF MARLBOROUGH. 303 

the well-known instances of Nelson, Earl Nelson; 
Duncan, Earl of Camperdown ; Wellesley, Duke of 
Wellington ; and Napier, Lord Napier of Magdala. 
To go a little further back, we have to instance 
John Churchill, who ultimately became Duke of Marl- 
borough. The story of Churchill is eminently sugges- 
tive of the beneficial change that has happily taken 
place in times and circumstances. John, who was of 
a good but impoverished family, was born in 1650. 
He got a little education, but was never able to 
spell. Being wholly unscrupulous, he sacrificed his 
honour in a way we refrain from mentioning, in 
order to be appointed an ensign, from which position 
he, by court-favour, rose to be a captain and lieutenant- 
colonel. Marrying Sarah Jennings, a lady as remarkable 
for her beauty as for her talents and imperious disposi- 
tion, Churchill was raised by James II. to the peerage 
as Baron Sundridge. Never for a moment losing sight 
of the main chance, he ostensibly deserted the cause of 
James, when that luckless monarch fled to France, and 
passing over to William, Prince of Orange, he was made 
by him Earl of Marlborough. While in the service of 
William, he greatly distinguished himself in fighting 
against the French, yet all the time by secret manoeuvres 
he fraudulently kept up an intercourse with James at St 
Germain. It was a case of double-dealing, very common 
at the time. According to Macaulay, who has tracked 
him out by ransacking the l Stuart Papers/ Marlborough 
had no sense of probity. He cared for neither Whig 
nor Tory. The only thing he cared for was money. 
'All the precious gifts which nature had lavished on 
him he valued chiefly for what they would fetch.' As a 
military commander, he drew a large allowance, under 



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304 DUKE OF MARLBOROUGH. 

pretence of keeping a public table, but he never asked 
an officer to dinner. He made up fraudulent muster- 
rolls. He pocketed pay in the names of men who had 
long been dead, killed in battle in his own sight years 
previously. There were twenty such names in one troop, 
and thirty-six in another. The historian offers proofs of 
these improprieties ; but fails to make sufficient allow- 
ance for the almost universal demoralisation among 
public men at the period. Marlborough was only 
an exaggerated instance of a very common kind of 
depravity. For fifty years after the flight of James, 
there were lurking hopes of a Restoration; and not 
until these hopes were stamped out on the field of 
Culloden was there anything like a distinct progress 
in those virtues which now distinguish the best order 
of society in Britain. 

Time has thrown a veil over the prevailing depravi- 
ties at the end of the seventeenth century, and except 
to point a moral it would be needless to rake them 
up. As regards Marlborough, history recognises in 
him one of the greatest military commanders ever pro- 
duced in England. For having driven the French out 
of Guelderland, and capturing Liege, 1702, he was 
advanced to be Marquis of Blandford and Duke 
of Marlborough. Two years later, in concert with 
Prince Eugene of Savoy, he defeated the French and 
Bavarians at Blenheim, for which gallantry he was 
presented by the nation with the estate of Woodstock, 
and was voted by parliament the sum of five hundred 
thousand pounds, for the erection of a suitable palace. 
This structure, now known as Blenheim, was completed 
in 1 7 15. Marlborough died in 1722. His only son 
having previously died of small-pox, his estates and 



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THE COWPERS. 305 

honours devolved by Act of Parliament on his eldest 
daughter, Henrietta, at whose decease they passed to 
her nephew (son of her sister, Anne), Charles Spencer, 
fifth Earl of Sunderland. In his descendants, the 
honours of Marlborough are continued. 

Diplomacy, politics, and law have largely added 
to the peerage. As in, every reign, and even more 
frequently, according to change in administrative 
politics, notable lawyers are promoted to be Lord 
Chancellors or Lord Chief-justices, with a title of 
nobility inherited by descendants or by relations, the 
peerage is constantly recruited from this cause; and so 
is it by the ennobling of retired Speakers of the House 
of Commons. In the work, ' Stories of Remarkable 
Persons/ we have mentioned the cases of Erskine, 
Lord Erskine; and Scott, Earl of Eldon; also the 
case of -Wedderbunv created Lord Loughborough, 
and afterwards advanced to be Earl of Rosslyn, with 
remainder to his nephew, Sir James St Clair-Erskine, 
Bart, whose descendant is now ;Earl of Rosslyn, 
One or two other cases may be mentioned. 

William Cowper, who rose to eminence as a lawyer, 
was the eldest son of Sir William Cowper, Bart., member 
of parliament for. Hertford, and. a land-proprietor in 
Kent and Hertfordshire. The family, said to « be of 
ancient lineage in Kent, was at least descended from 
one of the sheriffs in the city of London, in 1551. 
For one who had to make his way by professional exer- 
tion, the circumstance of being the son of a baronet 
and owner of lands was rather a drawback ; this, how- 
ever, young Cowper surmounted by his good sense 
and great ability. He was born at Hertford in 1664. 
Studying for the bar, and connecting himself with the 

T 



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306 THE COWPERS. 

Whig party, by whom the Revolution was achieved*, 
he was soon on the highway to official distinction. 

An unfortunate incident very nearly marred his 
prospects. He had a younger brother, Spencer, a 
barrister, against whom, in 1699, was brought a charge 
of murder, of which he was wholly guiltless. It was 
a curious case, famous in criminal trials. We shall givfc 
only the leading facts. There lived in Hertford, in 
good circumstances, the widow of Mr Stout, a Quaker, 
with her only daughter, Sarah. The Cowpers, from 
their connection with Hertford, were acquainted with 
the Stouts, and occasionally visited them. Spencer 
Cowper, from a friendly spirit, was serviceable m 
managing some pecuniary affairs for Sarah, which 
she recognised by the too tender sentiment of fall- 
ing in love with him to an incontrollable degree, 
although she knew he was a married man, and 
had never given any encouragement for her extra- 
ordinary notions. The impression: conveyed to out 
mind is that the young woman was to a certain 
extent mentally deranged, and scarcely accountable for 
her actions. One evening, after Spencer with three of 
his acquaintances had visited the house of Mrs Stout, 
and quietly departed, Sarah, as it would appear, in a 
sudden paroxysm of disappointment ini i not having 
her affection requited, ^ left her home unnoticed, and 
drowned herself in a river which, flows through thfe 
town of Hertford. Next morning, her bocrjrwas found'; 
and forthwith was raised the senseless rumour, fomented 
for political purposes, that Spencer Cowper and hifc 
Ihree friends were guilty of strangling the yonrjg aad 
pretty Quakeress, and of throwing h$r body into fife 
water to conceal their crime. One . cannot but fe& 



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$ARL COWPER. $ojr 

disgusted with the rashness of such unworthy imputa- 
tions, A trial of the four accused persons took pl^ce 
at the assizes. It was shewn for the defence that the 
body of Sarah Stout bore no marks of violence, and 
that the accused had no interest in destroying her. At 
that time, counsel were not allowed to plead on behalf 
of prisoners, and' Spencer Cowper, in a manly way, 
pleaded his own cause. He produced a letter to himself 
from Sarah Stout, which afforded convincing proof of 
her irregularity of mind The jury returned a verdict 
of Not Guilty. There was thus an end of the affair ; 
but it gave much concern to the Cowper family. For- 
tunately, it did not perceptibly retard the professional 
advancement of the two brothers, William and Spencer 
Cowper. Both pushed on their way. Spencer rose to 
be a judge in tj»e Court of Common Pleas. At his 
decease, he left two sons* One of these was Dr John 
Cowper, Rector of Berkhamstead, whose eldest son was 
Ae illustrious poet, Cowper. 

As for William Cowper, he succeeded to the baronetcy. 
He was made Lord Keeper of the Great Seal by Queen 
Anne, in 1705, and two years later he became Lord 
Chancellor. His services to tho Crown were continued 
on the accession of George L, and he was advanced to 
the dignities of Visgoiwt Fqjudwich and I&Ja Cowpef* 
His jlordship died in 1723. From him in regular suc- 
cession the Earldom has been continued till the present 
time ; the family by intermarriages an>d otherwise ever 
.growing in territorial distinctioiv The fifth Earl Cowper 
married a, daughter of Viscount Melbourne, who was 
the mother of the sixth EarL After the death of her 
husband, this lady, the Dowager Countess Cowper, as 
it will be rememb^ed, in^rriecl Henry John, Viscount 



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308 THE TEMPLES. 

Palmerston, the eminent statesman and Prime-minister. 
His alliance with the Cowper family permits us to say 
a few words regarding him and his ancestry. 

The Temples were an exceedingly old English family. 
They traced their descent from Edwyn, an Anglo- 
Saxon chief, who was deprived of the Earldom of Mercia 
by the Conqueror, and lost his life in defending himself 
against the Normans in 1071. The surname, Temple, 
is comparatively modern. It was assumed from the 
manor of Temple, in Leicestershire, which had belonged 
to the Knights Templars, and was gifted to the family. 
Throughout the sixteenth century, successive members 
of the family occupied important places of trust in 
England and Ireland. One of these worthies possessed 
a high reputation for learning, and died about the 
beginning of the eighteenth century, at his seat of Moor 
Park, in Surrey. He must have been a man of genial 
feeling, and a profound lover of nature. In his will, he 
left express directions that his heart should be buried in 
a silver box under the sun-dial in his garden. We are 
told that the sun-dial was opposite to the window where 
he used to admire the scene of rural beauty. He 
bequeathed his heart in acknowledgment of the delight 
he had experienced, and that there might be still some- 
thing of him left in a spot, from the contemplation 
of which he had derived so much happiness ! There 
must have been much that was good in this aged 
member of the Temple family. 

In 1722, Henry Temple, the head of the house, was 
created an Irish peer, as Baron Temple and Viscount 
Palmerston. The great-great-grandson of this person- 
age was the late Henry John Temple, Viscount Palmer- 
ston. His history from youth upwards is within every- 



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10RD PALMERSTON. 30^ 

body's recollection. After being for a time at Harrow, 
for the sake of his education, he was sent to the uniyer-, 
sity of Edinburgh, where Jie resided with, and attended 
the prelections of Dugald Stewart— a period of his life 
of which he retained agreeable memories. We need 
not pursue his political career. Irish peers possess a 
remarkable privilege. A certain number of them are 
elected for life to sit in the House of Lords, while 
the others not so elected, are eligible as members of 
the House of Commons as representatives. of English 
constituencies. Lord Palmerston, an Irish peer, through 
all parliamentary vicissitudes, and while first Lord of 
the Treasury and Prime-minister, represented an English 
constituency till his lamented decease in 1865. From 
default of heirs, the peerage was extinct 

A few years ago, when residing for a short time in 
Hertfordshire, we had an opportunity of seeing some 
of the magnificent properties belonging to Earl Cowper. 
Our first visit was to Brocket Hall, situated within a 
noble park, of some miles in circumference, not far 
from Hatfield, the seat of the Marquis of Salisbury, 
Brocket Hall is a massive square edifice, overlooking 
the river Lea. On being conducted through the house, 
we were shewn the apartment in which Lord Palmer- 
ston died. It was a small and plainly furnished 
bedroom on the ground floor. Stretching eastwards 
and southwards for several miles along by Tewin 
Water, various estates pertaining to the Cowper family, 
and decorated in the gaiety of summer, invited 
attention. The climax of beauty was the wooded 
park of Panshanger, in which, in a picturesque situa- 
tion, stands the residence of Earl Cowper, within 
a mile and a half of Hertford. Some of the trees 



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3ia PANSHAmER HOUSE. 

in the park are "of great size and antiquity. An 
oak, 'the monarch of the wood,' measures twenty-one 
feet in circumference, with the branches extending over 
a great surface !of ground. Where but in England 
could we see such greensward, such affectionate regard 
for all proper tokens of antiquity ? 

Panshanger House is often visited on account of its 
admirable collection of pictures by old masters. These 
works of art are principally in a saloon of spacious 
dimensions. Here, one revels over choice specimens 
of Rembrandt, Correggio, Carlo Dolci, Murillo, Velas- 
quez, Andrea del.Sarto, and Leonardo da Vinci — all 
priceless in value. The whole are rendered doubly 
interesting to the- visitor by a catalogue shewing a plan 
of the saloon, indicating the names and places of the 
respective pictures. In the library is shewn a portrait 
of the Lord Chancellor, first Earl Cowper. There is 
likewise a good portrait of his grand-nephew, the poet 
Cowper. Houses of this kind, the patrimonial resi- 
dences of old families noted in history, are a pleasing 
national characteristic. They indicate the endurance of 
the nation and its venerated institutions. 

In relating the story of Lady Jane Douglas in a 
previous part of the present volume, we had occasion 
to notice that the success of her extraordinary appeal 
case in the House of Lords was principally due to 
the oratory and shrewdness of a young and, till then, 
unknown barrister, named Thurlow. We have now 
something more to say of this remarkable member of 
the legal profession. Edward Thurlow was the son of 
a clergyman, the Rector of Ashfield, in Suffolk. Born 
in 1732, and called to the bar, he obtained a silk gown 
in 1761, and passing through the stages of Solicitor- 



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LORD THURLOW. 311 

general and Attorney-general, was constituted Lord 
Chancellor in 1778, when he was raised to the peerage 
as Baron Thurlow of Ashfield. 

Of strong will, a good classical scholar, a profound 
lawyer, and with courage amounting to audacity, Thur- 
low was one of the most famous men of the age. With 
his robust figure, strongly marked features, keen pierc- 
ing eyes, and his bushy eyebrows, he was something too 
terrific to encounter in any legal or other argument. 
Lord Campbell, in his 'Lives of the Lord Chancellors,* 
has gone so minutely into the history of this remarkable 
personage, that we need give only a few particulars. 
When he had taken his seat on the Woolsack, an 
opportunity soon occurred for shewing the mettle he was 
made of. In the course of a debate in the House of 
Lords concerning an inquiry into Lord Sandwich's 
administration of Greenwich Hospital, the Duke of 
Grafton indiscreetly and with bad taste reproached 
Thurlow with his mean birth. This splendid oppor- 
tunity of becoming superlatively great, and in fact of 
cowing the House, was greedily seized hold of by 
Thurlow ; for Grafton was descended from Henry Fitz- 
Roy, an illegitimate son of Charles II. by Barbara 
Villiers, Duchess of Cleveland, and he had therefore 
exposed himself to a frightful castigation. Mr Butler, 
an eye-witness, describes the memorable scene : 

'Thurlow rose from the woolsack, and advanced 
slowly to the place from which the Chancellor generally 
addresses the House; then fixing on the Duke the look 
of Jove when he grasped the thunder, " I am amazed," 
he said in a loud tone of voice, "at the attack the noble 
Duke has made on me. Yes, my Lords," considerably 
raising his voice, " I am amazed at His Grace's speech. 



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312 LORD THURLOW. 

The noble Duke cannot look before him, behind him, 
or on either side of him, without seeing some noble 
Peer who owes his seat in this Hbuse to successful 
exertions in the profession to which I belong. Does he 
not feel that it is as honourable to owe it to these, as to 
being the accident of an accident ? To all those noble 
Lords the language of the noble Duke is as applicable as 
to myself. But I don't fear to meet it single and alone. 
No one venerates the Peerage more than I do ; but my 
Lords, I must say that the Peerage solicited me, not I 
the Peerage. Nay, more, I can say, and will say, that 
as a Peer of Parliament, as Speaker of this honourable 
House, as Keeper of, the Great Seal, as guardian of 
his Majesty's conscience, as Lord High Chancellor of 
England — nay, even in that, character alone in which 
the noble Duke would think it an affront to be con- 
sidered — as a Man — I am at this moment as respectable 
— I beg leave to add, I am at this moment as much 
respected — as the proudest Peer I now look down 
upon." The effect of this speech,' adds Mr Butler, 
'both within and without the walls of parliament was 
prodigious.' It gave Lord Thurlow an ascendency in 
the House which no Chancellor ever possessed : it 
invested him in public opinion, with a character of 
independence and honour; and this, though he was 
ever on the unpopular side in politics, made him always 
popular with the people.' 

While Thurlow was in office as Lord Chancellor, a 
commotion was caused, in March 1784, by hiis loss 
of the Great Seal, which was feloniously stolen and 
carried off from his house during the night ; the thieves 
having got in by forcing two bars from the kitchen 
window. Perhaps the burglars expected that a large 



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THE KERS OF CESSFORD. 313 

reward would be offered for recovery of the lost instru- 
ment. If so, they were mistaken. His Majesty in 
Council immediately caused a new Great Seal to be 
made ; and though roughly executed, it was next day 
ready for use. This make-shift Seal shortly afterwards 
was replaced by a new Great Seal of exquisite work- 
manship. No substantial inconvenience was caused by 
the burglary; nor were the thieves ever discovered. 

Thurlow finally quitted office in 1792. Latterly, he 
gave much offence by his overbearing manner, and his 
differences with Mr 'Pitt rendered his dismissal inevi- 
table. He had no heirs to whom his title could descend, 
and the only boon granted to him was that the remainder 
of his Peerage was granted to the sons of his brother. 
His last years were spent in retirement at Brighton, 
where from his conversational powers and the causticity 
of his remarks, he was an acceptable guest of George, 
Prince of Wales. A person who knew him at this 
period, speaks of having complimented him on his 
surprising memory. Thurlow, in reply, would not 
allow the want pf memory in any one ; but said it 'was 
want of attention, and not want of memory that occa- 
sions forgetfulness.' Such is true; but the remark is 
important as coming from a man of singular acuteness. 
He died in 1806. 

In old Scottish history, several now distinguished 
families already noticed come well to the front. In 
addition, the Dukes of Roxburghe deserve some 
special mention. In early records, frequent notice is 
taken of the Kers of Cessford, a family which, like 
that of the Scotts of Buccleuch, were concerned in 
maintaining peace on the Scottish border. Sir Robert 
Ker, Knight, of Cessford, was, in 1600, elevated to 



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314 THIRD DUKE OF ROXBURGHE. 

the peerage of Scotland as Lord Roxburghe, and a 
few years later advanced to the dignity of Earl of 
Roxburghe. The fifth Earl, in 1707, was made Marquis 
of Bowmont and Duke of Roxburghe. Public interest 
is chiefly directed to John, the third Duke, born in 
1740, and who, on succeeding his father, rose high in 
the estimation of George III. 

His Grace appears to have spent most of his time 
in London and in foreign travel. With a handsome 
figure, and varied mental accomplishments, he was a 
general favourite among persons of refined tastes. A 
bent was given to his pursuits, as the result of an 
attachment that had been formed between His Grace, 
when on his travels, and Christiana-Sophia-Albertina, 
eldest daughter of the Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. 
There were no solid objections to the match; and 
the nuptials would have taken place, but for the circum- 
stance that Charlotte, a younger sister of Christiana, 
had just at that time been espoused to George III. 
Etiquette then interfered, it being deemed not proper 
that the elder sister, as Duchess of Roxburghe, should 
be inferior in station to her younger sister, as Queen 
Charlotte. It was an absurd objection. In the present 
day, no such punctilio would have been suffered 
to interfere with the intended marriage of the Duke 
of Roxburghe with his bride-elect At that time, 
etiquette was inexorable. The Duke and Christiana 
yielded to their unhappy fate. But both evinced the 
strength of their attachment by devoting their after-lives 
to celibacy. 

With feelings driven in upon himself, John, third 
Duke of Roxburghe, became a great collector of curious 
old books, noted for their extreme scarcity. The 



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THIRD DUKE OF ROXBURGHE. 315 

pursuit became a kind of mania. No cost, however 
enormous, prevented him from purchasing works that 
Struck his fancy, and which rival book-hunters desired 
to possess. His house was in St James's Square^ 
London, and here he collected his numerous literary 
treasures. Some amusing anecdotes of his bibliomania 
are given in the works of Dr T. F. Dibdin. The 
Duke died in 1804. Shortly afterwards, his valuable 
library, rich in old romances of chivalry and early 
English poetry, was disposed of by auction ; the sale 
producing an extraordinary commotion among noblemen 
and gentlemen with antiquarian tastes. As a specimen 
of the prices that were run up by competition, it may 
be stated that a copy of the first work printed by 
Caxton, in 147 1, sold for ^1050, 10s. The largest 
sum, however (and perhaps the greatest ever paid 
for a single printed volume up till that time), was 
given by the Marquis of Blandford, afterwards Duke 
of Marlborough, for the first edition of Boccaccio's 
' Decameron,' which fetched £2260. In commemoration 
of the interest which the sale of this collection occa- 
sioned among literary antiquaries, the Roxburghe Club 
was instituted, for die purpose of printing a limited 
number of scarce manuscripts found in public and 
private libraries. 

That fatal celibacy of John, third Duke of Roxburghe, 
by leaving him without issue, had a serious dislocating 
effect on the lineage and dignities of the family. The 
Duke's British honours expired, and his Scottish honours 
devolved on a distant relation, at whose decease there 
was a protracted legal contest concerning the heritage* 
It was at length settled in favour of Sir James Innes 
Northcliffe, Bart The recent Dukes of Roxburghe can 



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316 SIR WATKIN W. WYNN. 

only in a remote degree be identified with the heroic 
old Kers of CessforcL 

To return from this digression to the main thread 
of these desultory sketches : 

Whatever be the cause of absorption into the 
peerage, there prevails the peculiarity of possessing 
lands, such being presumed to give some assurance of 
sufficient and permanent wealth, to sustain the family 
dignity. With few exceptions, therefore, members of 
the peerage are large land-proprietors, and in their 
patrimonial domains command not only general 
respect, but commonly considerable political influence. 
Yet, although the elevation to the peerage be an 
object of ambition, there are feelings of a contrary 
nature. The higher the rank the more cumbrous are 
the social obligations. There are accordingly numerous 
instances among old and wealthy families of preferring 
to remain in the rank of commoners, with the privilege 
of being eligible as members of the House of Commons, 
as the more popular and powerful branch of the legis- 
lature, and where there is scope for more diversified 
mental activity than in the quietly dignified region of 
the House of Lords. For example, it is known that 
Sir Francis Burdett, Bart, the eminent politician 
and representative of an old family, might if he chose 
have been raised to the peerage, but preferred the 
bustling life of a commoner. 

We have seen the same thing stated of Sir Watkin 
Williams Wynn, Bart., M.P., the possessor of large 
landed estates in Denbighshire. Through a clear line 
of ancestry Sir Watkin traces his descent from Cadrod 
Hardd (Cadrod the Handsome), a chieftain in the Isle 
of Anglesey, in the tenth century, and whose family 



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THE OSBORNES. 3*7 

have for several generations enjoyed pre-eminent rank 
in the principality of Wales ; nor are they second to any 
among the Cambrian families in territorial possessions 
and political influence. In returning thanks for his 
seventh election for Denbighshire in 1868, Sir Watkin 
said : ' The position for more than a century and a half 
has been the most prized distinction of my family; 
it was preferred by my great-grandfather to an earldom, 
by my father to an earldom, by myself to a peerage.' 
An acknowledgment of this kind throws light on the 
high character of the old landed gentry. Wynnstay, 
the superb residence of Sir Watkin Williams Wynn, 
situated amidst park-scenery in the beautiful vale of 
Llangollen, is reckoned one of the glories of England. 

Occasionally a degree of romance crops out in 
the history of noble families of an old date. A case 
of this kind occurs in the history of the Godolphin 
Osbornes, Dukes of Leeds. The founder of the 
family, as we may call him, was Edward Osborne, 
apprentice to William Hewit, a clothier who resided 
with his wife and daughter, Anne, in a house on London 
Bridge. One day, Anne, in leaning over the window, 
fell into the -Thames, and was rescued from drowning 
by young Osborne, who plunging in after her,, brought 
her ashore. We might call this adventure a 'swim for 
a wife. It was the foundation . of Osborne's fortune. 
He was married to Anne Hewit, he succeeded to 
the wealth of his father-in-law, he was knighted, and 
rose to be Lord Mayor of London, At his decease 
in 1591, Sir Edward Osborne left a son and two 
daughters. His great-grandson, Sir Thomas Osborne, 
became Lord High Treasurer of England, and was 
elevated to the peerage as Baron Osborne of Kiveton, 



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318 THE LANSDOWNE FAMILY. 

and Viscount Latimer of Danby, in 1673. Next 
year, he was advanced to the dignity of an Earldom, as 
Earl of Danby, under which title he is often referred 
to in history. There were more honours awaiting him. 
In 1689, he was created Marquis of Carmarthen, 
and in 1694, Duke of Leeds. Thomas, the fourth 
Duke, was married to a daughter and eventually heir 
of Francis, Earl of Godolphin. It is unnecessary to 
pursue the account of the family. 

In the pedigree of the Marquis of Lansdowne 
there occurs an incident as curious and interesting as 
that just referred to. The Lansdowne family, who 
rank among the most esteemed in the peerage, trace 
their origin in the lineal branch to the Fitzmaurices* 
Lords of Kerry. Thomas, the twenty-first Lord 
Kerry, married, in 1692, Anne, only daughter of Sir 
William Petty, whence the name Petty became blended 
with the surname of the family, while at the same time^ 
by the union, their possessions were very materially 
increased. . v 

William Petty, whose fortune enriched the Lans- 
downes, was the elder son of a clothier at Rumsey, 
a small town on the coast of England. He was bom 
in 1623. As a boy at school he was noted for hi$ 
extraordinary mechanical genius, and his assiduous 
pursuit of knowledge. His father gave hkn a good 
education to enable him to enter the medical profession; 
in which he became a successful practitioner. When 
entering on his career as a surgeon-physician at Oxford, 
a circumstance occurred which greatly jaffected his 
fixture career. In 1650, a woman named Anne Green 
was tried and condemned to death for child-murder. 
Her fate roused considerable compassion, for there was 



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SIR WILLIAM PETTY. 319 

a general belief that she had been unfairly dealt with. 
Be that as it may, the law was suffered to take its 
course, and the unfortunate woman was hanged After 
being suspended half an hour, and when it was thought 
that life was extinct, she was cut down, and carried away 
in a coffin to be dissected by the doctors, for the benefit 
of anatomical science. Dr Petty, the young and inge*- 
nious physician, imagined, on looking at the body, that 
it shewed symptoms of a possible resuscitation, were 
the proper means employed. It quite suited his eager 
spirit of enterprise to make the attempt Assisted by 
other doctors, he set to work, and at length, by dint of 
skill and perseverance, actually succeeded in bringing 
the poor woman to life. Anne was, of course, asto- 
nished to find that, by the bungling of the executioner, 
she was still in the land of the living, and gladly she 
went home unmolested to her friends. It is recorded 
that she lived for a number of years afterwards, and 
had several children. 

Anything seemingly marvellous in the way of cure, 
^exalts the reputation of a surgeon. Accordingly, 
the bringing of an apparently dead woman to life, 
immensely raised the fame pf Dr Petty. He was 
talked of far and wide. The foundation of his fortune 
was laid. Proceeding by invitation to Ireland, he 
became physician to three successive Lords-lieutenant, 
was knighted, and appointed, to be Physician-general to 
the Army. With his versatility of talent, he undertook 
the survey of Ireland at the rate of a penny an acre, 
by which fortunate adventure he realised great wealth. 
As Sir William Petty he returned to England, and 
wrote a number of scientific treatises. This remarkable 
genius died in his hpuse in Piccadilly, in 1687. 



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320 CONCLUSION. 

The accession of property by interaiarriage with Sir, 
William's daughter and heiress, enabled Lord Kerry to 
sustain higher honours with becoming distinction. He 
was promoted to be Earl of Kerry. His second son, 
John, was created Earl of Shelburne in 1753. 
William, second Earl of Shelburne, was advanced to 
be Marquis of Lansdowne in 1784. The second 
Marquis died without issue in 1809, when his honours 
devolved on his half-brother, Lord Henry Petty. 
There are those still alive (the writer of this for one) 
who had the pleasure of knowing personally and 
appreciating the great talents of Henry, third Marquis 
of Lansdowne. As from default of direct heirs, he 
inherited the honours of the. Earls of Kerry, in him 
were happily united the two branches of ,the Fitz- 
maurice-Pettys. A popular writer, in speaking of the 
Lansdowne family, remarks with more truth than ele- 
gance: 'The brains of a clothier's son brought them 
their great wealth.' We would more graciously, for the 
special benefit of the young and aspiring, conclude 
with the old familiar apothegm, that Skill leads to 
Fortune ! 



THE END. 



Edinburgh : Printed by W. & R. Chambers. 






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JUNMO 1964 




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